KOZHIKODE: In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, when ‘Express’ asked Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about the LDF’s poll prospects in the Malabar region, he had cited the return of Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) to the Left camp as a major plus. But election results have shown the LJD could not ensure the desired impact expected of it.
Analysts say the poor showing will vastly reduce the LJD’s bargaining power within the LDF for seats in the upcoming polls. Across the Vadakara Parliament constituency- particularly in Vadakara assembly segment - LJD has close to 50,000 votes.
In Kozhikode constituency too, LJD claims a cadre strength of around 20,000. But it seems a number of factors prevented the entire chunk of votes from landing in the LDF kitty this time round. In the Vadakara assembly segment, an LJD stronghold, LDF’s P Jayarajan trailed his rival K Muraleedhran of the UDF by around 23,000 votes. This was the highest victory margin recorded by Muraleedharan among the seven assembly segments. Undoubtedly, it was a major contributing factor to Jayarajan’s crushing defeat by an overall margin of nearly 85,000 votes.
Primarily, the decision to return to the LDF has still not gone down well with at least half of the LJD cadre. However, they were assuaged on the premise that the party will be given a seat in the Lok Sabha polls. But when the party’s demand for the seat was flatly turned down, the resentment reached a boiling point. Leaders like Manayath Chandran, the party’s Kozhikode district secretary, openly revolted against being short-changed by big-brother CPM.
LJD leaders admit that in certain pockets, such as Kakkur panchayat in the Left stronghold of Elathur in Kozhikode, the cadre were still seething with resentment days before the polls. However, the leaders claim they were able to convince the cadre on the need to fight unitedly for the sake of the party’s survival and its future prospects. Statistics from Kozhikode constituency also show the LJD could not make much impact there. The result: LDF’s A Pradeepkumar trailed in all assembly segments including the Kozhikode (North) constituency represented by him in the Assembly.
Besides the indignation of being short-changed, LJD cadre were averse to seeking votes for LDF candidate P Jayarajan whom the UDF portrayed as the symbol of murder politics. “In certain pockets of Vadakara, even Kudumbashree women, who are staunch CPM loyalists, expressed resentment over Jayarajan’s candidature. It was impossible to convince them and even some of our cadre,” said an LJD leader from Vadakara.
The leader said K Muraleedharan’s statements, that LJD supporters were still with the UDF at heart, created confusion among the cadre. The LJD cadre found it tough to suddenly turn supporters of Jayarajan, who for a decade was on the other side of the political spectrum in the politically volatile region, he added.
VADAKARA (Assembly segment)
UDF votes 71,162
LDF votes 48,199
Victory margin 22,963