After a lull, signs of a political churn are visible in Kerala once again. Allies have started flexing their muscles and are seeking options both within and outside the existing structures. The state of flux is more visible in the ruling Left Front, with the CPM going out of its way to keep the two-MLA-strong NCP happy as a tool to checkmate the CPI, which has 19 MLAs.
Even a naive follower of Kerala politics would be alive to how the numbers add up for the CPM in the Assembly at 72, minus the CPI. So it is no surprise that the CPM uses kid gloves when confronted with the not-so-legal activities of some independent MLAs under the LDF banner. Because, with the CPM strongholds fast shrinking in other parts of India, consolidating the numbers in Kerala is a matter of life and death for the party, even at the expense of its biggest ally in the government.
Having started off with two seats when the LDF was formed four decades ago, it took only four years for the CPI to wrest four Lok Sabha seats from the CPM, a state of affairs that continues till now. Many in the CPM feel aggrieved as in the Congress-led UDF, the Muslim League is satisfied with only two Lok Sabha seats. Quite a few in the CPM feel the need to shore up the party’s numbers in Kerala, as the Marxists have no reason to believe West Bengal and Tripura are going to send too many of its members to
Suddenly, there is smoke over Janata Dal (United) leader and Member of Parliament Veerendra Kumar’s intention to quit the Rajya Sabha, spirited denials from all concerned notwithstanding. It does not require the skills of a psephologist to figure out that he is awaiting a green signal from the CPM. Kerala Congress (Mani) too is mulling a way forward and there are not many willing to take a bet on its re-entry to the UDF. The game of snakes and ladders will get more intense as there are only about 500 days to go for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.