The CPM is leaving no stone unturned to wrest the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency from sitting MP NK Premachandran. The party has fielded a formidable candidate to take on the challenge - CPM state secretariat member KN Balagopal. He talks to Express Principal Correspondent Unnikrishnan S about the anti-BJP wave and policies of the LDF Government. Excerpts:
Q: What vibes are you getting when you meet people during the campaign?
A: I am getting positive response in general. People have strong emotions against the BJP government at the Centre. We can see that the LDF has a major role in supporting Congress at the national level. For them, the Left is the best bet to form a new government at the national level.
Q: What are the issues you discuss during the campaign?
A. I talk about high inflation, especially the rise in price of petrol and cooking gas. The lack of job opportunities is a major issue. The real threat is the systematic use of communalism to curb the upsurges against government policies.
Q: Will Sabarimala issue be a major deciding factor this time?
A: Both the UDF and the BJP are trying to use it as an agenda. But I don’t think it is a major issue for the public. The government has not taken any steps intentionally. But we have agreed for a stand that the court shall convene a meeting of experts to decide on the issue.
Q: UDF candidate N K Premachandran said the CPM leadership was behind a smear campaign against him?
A: The CPM does not have such a campaign. In politics, it is not acceptable that one is beyond criticism.