The victory of AM Ariff, three-time Aroor MLA, from the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, proved a face-saver for the ruling LDF in the elections. One among the five representatives of the Left parties in Parliament, Ariff says his priority is to complete the developmental projects being implemented in the constituency in a time-bound manner. In an interview with Express Principal Correspondent Biju E Paul, Ariff says the LDF failed to create awareness among the voters on the legal side of the SC judgment on Sabarimala. Excerpts...
Q: As the only Left MP from the state, what will be your stance in Parliament?
A: I will try to reflect the policies and visions of Left parties in Parliament. I will join the four Left MPs representing other states and try to protect the public interest with the supervision of the state and central leadership of the Left parties. When it comes to the requirements of the state, I will join hands with UDF MPs to highlight Kerala’s issues and needs.
Q: Is there any need to change the functioning style of people’s representatives and political leaders of the Left front?
A: Post-defeat, LDF examined and evaluated our performance and the factors that led to it. The defeat is not the result of the style of functioning of any single leader. In 1977, when EMS was the Chief Minister, the Left was defeated in all the seats. Was the style of functioning of EMS the reason behind the defeat? At the national level, Congress faced a major debacle in the general election. Did Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s style of functioning result in the party’s drubbing at the hustings?
Q: So, what was the main reason for the defeat?
A: All parties face the electorate with a policy which is the determining factor that leads to victory or defeat. If the LDF has failed to create awareness among the voters about its policies, we will correct it. These kinds of checks and balances led the LDF to victory from zero seats in 1977 to 18 seats in 2014.
Q: Did the Sabarimala issue reflect in the election result?
A: The government never tried to bring any women to the shrine. It is the duty of a democratic government to implement an order issued by the Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court. If Sabarimala was a political issue, BJP should have won the polls. LDF failed to create awareness among the voters on the legal side of the SC judgment on the issue. That was a failure of the LDF.
Q: Why do you think Kerala voted for Congress and the UDF this time?
A: The five-year rule of the BJP-led Central Government had created fissures in the secular fabric of the country. The Left had also faced setbacks in Tripura and West Bengal. So, the people of the state voted against BJP rule and showed inclination towards secular nature of the UDF. The candidature of Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad also benefited Congress. All these factors led to UDF’s victory.
Q: What are your development plans for the constituency?
A: Many projects being implemented in the constituency are facing roadblocks owing to various reasons. My top priority will be to initiate steps to complete all projects in a time-bound manner. Alappuzha bypass, Autokast rail wagon factory and many other projects are to be completed.
Q: Did the stance taken by Vellapally Natesan help in your victory?
A: Not only Vellapally Natesan, all religious heads and members supported me.
An M Ariff
Age: 54 years
Qualification: BSc, LLB
Asset: D62.92 lakh
Three-term MLA of Aroor assembly constituency