The strongman of CPM, Pinarayi Vijayan, in an interview with Vinod Mathew, comes out all guns blazing against the Congress.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has stated that the Lok Sabha poll results will be a referendum on his Government’s performance. And you went on record saying he was being his usual cunning self. What did you mean by that?
A: There is a another dimension to the word referendum when Oommen Chandy speaks about it. “Those who wish to see my government continue in power should vote for me,” is what I feel he must be implying indirectly. But such tricks by him will not wash with the electorate this time.
Q: You are the star campaigner for the CPM this time. What is the energy level that you are taking from your ‘Kerala Raksha March’ into this campaign and what do you expect to be the conversion rate of this energy into votes?
A: The march was held at the most appropriate time. It was ended on February 26. One week later the elections were announced. The experience of the march was a distinct one compared to other campaigns we had undertaken in the past. Many people from different sections of society flowed to be a part of the march. At several places, people who came to attend the meetings could not even enter the venue of the meet. The crowds could be seen spilling over to the street. I could see even aged women coming to see the jatha at many places. Q: Will it all get converted into votes?
A: Not only ‘Raksha march.’ In our earlier agitations like fasts organised across the state also had a huge turnout. A series of agitations like the day and night stir against the hike in prices of cooking gas and agitations against Solar scam have made a great impact on the electorate.
Q: There were quite a few agitations in recent times which you had to called off abruptly? Why?
A: During agitations, we cannot go beyond a certain limit. In the case of Secretariat siege agitation against the Solar scam, our demand was a judicial probe and the Chief Minister’s resignation. But when the Chief Minister openly announced a judicial probe on the second day of the siege, even without holding any discussion with us, we could not further insist on the Chief Minister’s resignation for calling off the stir. We had also stated that stir would be continued in the event of any going back on the assurance from the Chief Minister. It is a fact that he did not keep his word. But those who had been expecting more were naturally frustrated.
Q: You are referring to...
A: The media...
(This leads to some banter about the media and its position on CPM in the state. Soon enough, Pinarayi Vijayan makes it clear that he meant only a section of the media and was not aiming to paint all with the same brush.)
Q: You have more or less resolved all the intra-party issues. Would you admit that the same could not be achieved with in the LDF, especially in the context of RSP breaking away?
A: Generally, there is no problem with the unity in the LDF. But what the RSP has adopted is a deceitful stance. The RSP has been with the Left Front at national level. For the last three consecutive terms, the RSP is not contesting from Kollam. But they had asked for the Kollam seat this time. But if the incidents that have taken place is examined, one could come to the conclusion that they asked the seat just to create an excuse to quit the LDF.