The Left front in the state is confident of wresting back a majority of the seats it lost last time and it banks on empowerment of youth and women to woo voters. In an interview by Express Deputy Chief of Bureau Anil S, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan exudes confidence that the Left front will increase the number of seats and vote share in the Lok Sabha polls. Excerpts:
Q: What are the Left front’s prospects in this election?
A: Currently, the Left front has eight Lok Sabha seats in its kitty from Kerala. The front is definitely going to increase the number of seats and the total vote share will also see a substantial rise this time. In 2014, when we won eight seats, there were certain ‘sure seats’ that we lost. We are confident that this time, the front can wrest them back.
Q: And how exactly do you perceive this poll strategy to work out?
A: The Left is sure to win back the ‘sure seat’ it lost last time. They include: Vadakara, Kozhikode, Alappuzha, Kollam and Mavelikkara. The Kerala Congress(B), led by R Balakrishna Pillai and Ganesh Kumar, which was part of the UDF last time, has moved to the LDF. This will be an advantage. Going by our performance in the local body and Assembly elections, we are confident of winning Mavelikkara.
The Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) coming back to the Left fold has added to the winnability factor in Vadakara. Another favourable factor is that parties with a Left mindset, which oppose the RSS ideology and stand for liberal policies, including CPI(ML) Red Flag, CMP, K R Gowri’s party, have come together this time. Service organisations and those in the banking and insurance sectors, as well as the minorities, favour the LDF.
Q: Why do you believe such a game plan would work?
A: The Left government’s commendable achievements in the past three years will surely reflect in the polls. There’s no anti-incumbency factor against the state government. With the interventions in the social sector, 14 lakh new pensioners, including farmers, the aged, widows and those in the fisheries sector, have all benefited immensely.
Q. Do you think the Sabarimala issue will affect the Left’s electoral prospects?
A. There won’t be any dip in Left votes over the Sabarimala issue. Those who vote for the Left will remain with us. The BJP and the Congress tried to mislead people with their campaign.The UDF too has been playing the communal card after the RSS took it up. The minorities are unhappy over this. The LDF’s women-friendly stance will prove advantageous. The women’s presence in the Left campaigns has increased. More women are coming up for squad work now. That too will reflect in poll outcome. The LDF’s stance of upholding gender equality is going to be favourable for us on the Sabarimala issue.
Q: How do you view Rahul Gandhi’s so-called candidature from Wayanad?
In fact, the campaign on Rahul Gandhi’s so-called candidature from Wayanad will be a setback for the UDF. Once Rahul contests as the UDF candidate with the support of SDPI and Jamaat e Islami, it will only prove to be a setback in North Kerala. The minorities have lost their faith in the UDF. The Muslim community is unhappy over the Congress’ inept stance on issues of national importance such as triple talaq, Citizenship Bill and J&K row.