Do-or-die battle for Left. Now or never for BJP

Left’s performance to have a bearing on national scene; UDF elated over clean sweep prediction; BJP looks to ride Sabarimala wave

Published: 23rd May 2019 03:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2019 03:08 AM   |  A+A-

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (File Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The D-Day is here. Results of the Lok Sabha election which has turned out to be a do-or-die battle for the Left in Kerala, its only remaining bastion in the country, will be out on Thursday. And it’s going to be most crucial for the Communists not only in Kerala, but also across the country. 

With exit polls predicting a UDF sweep, the outcome could make or break the CPM. A pathetic Left performance will have its repercussions in state politics too. The results would prove crucial for the UDF too in the wake of Rahul Gandhi’s candidature. As for the BJP, it’s a most prestigious battle as the saffron party hopes to open its account, especially with the Sabarimala factor in play. 

Obviously, the ruling Left under Pinarayi Vijayan has many factors at stake. Internal bickerings over Sabarimala have gradually started cropping up, even as iron-handed Pinarayi Vijayan outrightly rejected the exit polls. Nonetheless, a poor show could bring out into the open simmering differences within the front over the Sabarimala fiasco. Already, some Left allies and even a few CPM leaders have expressed concerns, though covertly, about the outcome. 

For the CPM, the results are sure to have a multi-dimensional impact. Apparently, the Left’s performance at the state would have a bearing on the national political scenario too. The numbers from here will be crucial for the CPM to retain its national party status.   Undoubtedly, the one politician, who would be the centre of attention, post results, is Pinarayi.

Though there won’t be any immediate threat to his chief ministership, a drubbing in the polls could go a long way in redefining his political ambitions. In the event of BJP winning in Thiruvananthapuram or Pathanamthitta, the blame will be squarely put on him. Going by the 2004 model, when A K Antony stepped down taking responsibility for the poll debacle, Opposition would be gunning for his head. 

However, an unexpected win where the Left is able to buck the UDF wave or even retain its sitting seats could alter the entire political scenario. Though the CPM and CPI leadership moved away from their initial claims of a big victory – and now stick to just putting up a decent show – Pinarayi refuses to retract from his earlier stance. Rejecting exit polls, he has predicted a thumping victory for the Left. In the event of a decent show, the Left would, by default, have gained the attention of the entire nation.

It’s going to be crucial for the UDF too. With Rahul’s candidature, the state has already gained national attention. The UDF camp is elated after exit polls predicted a clean sweep for the UDF. Now it has become the responsibility of the Congress to improve its tally. Any setback or grim show would prove to be costly for both KPCC chief Mullappally Ramachandran and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. Congress is pinning its hopes on south India to garner maximum seats. Hence the Congress cannot afford anything short of a landslide victory. 

Focus on Pinarayi Vijayan 
Undoubtedly, post-polls Pinarayi would be the centre of attention. Though there won’t be any immediate threat to his chief ministership, a drubbing could go a long way in redefining his political ambitions

Saffron dilemma
The BJP hopes to reap rich dividend riding on the Sabarimala wave. State chief PS Sreedharan Pillai has termed the election ‘now or never’. If the BJP is unable to open its account, despite the favourable socio-political backdrop, it might have to wait for long. Winning even one seat would cement Pillai as the undisputable leader in Kerala. A zilch performance would, on the other hand, provide fodder to the Muraleedharan faction to clamour for a leadership change.

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