THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Throughout the poll campaign, two CPM Politburo members - Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan - kept on referring to the 2004 LS elections, when the LDF had won 18 of the 20 seats. The verdict was almost the same with a minor exception - the majority of 19 seats went to the UDF fold.
Undoubtedly, the poor handling of the Sabarimala issue has a major role to play in the Left predicament. Faced with the second biggest defeat in its electoral history - the first being in 1977, when the Congress front with the CPI on its side won all the 20 seats - it’s time for the Left to go into the nitty-gritties.
“It’s time the CPM modified its style of functioning. Unnecessary arrogance and unreasonable violence won’t be tolerated any more by the masses. The sooner the party realises it, the better. As far as the Sabarimala issue is concerned, the Left cannot opt for a different stance than it has. But the way it was handled, needs to be discussed,” said a senior CPM leader.
Obviously, fingers will be pointed at Pinarayi who drew flak from various corners on different issues, including Sabarimala. Right from the poor handling of Cyclone Ockhi, allegations over a man-made flood and back-to-back political killings have played a crucial role in turning voters against the Left Front. In fact, the hype over Sabarimala favoured the Congress as concerned minorities came together to vote for the UDF. There was a steady flow of Left votes to UDF on account of Sabarimala. Also, the political killings in Kannur have made a mark in the voting pattern. The defeat is sure to create a ruckus in the party’s Kannur unit.
Post-defeat, differences within the front have already started coming out in the open. Though the pathetic performance will have its ripples in state politics, chances are less for demands from within the LDF for Pinarayi’s resignation. Party state chief Kodiyeri has already stated the party will learn from its mistakes and take corrective steps, as needed.
ALSO READ | Sabarimala fails to help 'lotus' bloom in Kerala
“In a state where there’s more than 45 per cent of minority votes, there was a general consolidation of the minorities against the BJP. It was the Left that secularised the people against the Sangh Parivar’s communal campaign. The people have voted for the Congress in the hope of forming a secular government at the Centre,” pointed out CPM PB member M A Baby.
Along with minority votes, a section of upper caste Hindu votes too went to the UDF.