THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: On a day the CPM sent out feelers to the Jose K Mani faction of Kerala Congress (M), CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran came out strongly opposing its entry into the LDF. The Jose faction remaining as an independent block would help LDF, but its entry would be a disadvantage to it in the coming elections, said Kanam. In an interview with TNIE, Kanam mocked at CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s statement that KC(M) is a force to reckon with. Excerpts.
Q: The Jose K Mani faction is on its way out from UDF. Is LDF planning to take them in?
A: The LDF hasn’t discussed this issue so far. Obviously, a split in UDF will benefit the Left, as the margin between the two fronts is very narrow. In Kottayam, LDF polled 4.07 lakh votes in the last assembly elections while UDF polled 4.99 lakh votes. The situation is almost similar in Idukki and Pathanamthitta. Any weakening of UDF will help the Left. If there’s a difference of 10,000 votes and if the Jose faction is able to poll the same, it will favour LDF.
Q: In that case, will not Jose K Mani coming to Left be advantageous?
A: Last time, the united KC(M) got 4 per cent votes. The post-split situation will hence be crucial. Going by our 50-year experience in their stronghold, the KC(M) votes are basically UDF vote base that has become more anti-Communist especially after 1960. If the faction is taken into the fold, Left votes will be transferred to KC(M) but not vice versa. The KC(M) vote base will still be polled by UDF. So, it’s advantage UDF. On the contrary, if the two factions contest against each other, LDF will reap the benefit.
Q: Does it mean that CPI feels that Jose Mani faction remaining as an independent block will benefit LDF?
A: If the two warring factions remain so, LDF will sweep central Travancore in local body polls and assembly polls. The 1987 assembly elections are an example. Those were fought without any community parties and the front registered a major victory.
A rift in UDF will ensure seven seats for LDF in Kottayam, even if we exclude Puthuppally and Kaduthuruthy. But if the Jose faction is part of LDF, it would want its sitting seats.
Moreover, the Left front functions based on a shared policy. Including such factions would only make the masses think that there’s nothing to differentiate between the two fronts.
Q: The CPM state secretary today said the KC(M) faction has good mass support.
A: Yes, we witnessed their mass support during the Pala bypoll. When the LDF fought as a united block, we could win the Pala bypoll. The Chengannur bypoll too was won, without us having to resort to wooing any UDF faction in a bid to attract Christian votes. We can have a dialogue with the minority vote base without any middlemen.
Q: Why is the Left then still sending feelers to Jose K Mani?
A: All such talk is done in a general sense and, I believe, that is to further widen the rift within the UDF.
Q: Is the LDF planning any expansion of the front?
A: No such plans at the moment.
Q: Both Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Kodiyeri are aware of the CPI stand, yet they continue to make such statements.
A: I don’t think such statements were made after assessing the grass-root-level situation. The only thing they can say is to let Jose K Mani make his stance clear.