THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Left got it right, once again. And it’s official now. Kerala will remain the only Left bastion in the country for at least another five years. The biggest takeaway from the poll is undoubtedly Brand Pinarayi.
The 'dhoti-clad Modi' - as he was once criticised by a Left ally - has proved himself to be the most sought-after political personality for the Left in recent times. The politician with an anti-media profile, the Communist strongman went on to reinvent himself to be the tallest Communist leader of the present times.
If one was to view the Left from the shores of Kerala, it could well be the launch of a true Leftist alternative at the national level too. Given the current political scenario, it won't be surprising if Pinarayi Vijayan emerges as the face of a United Opposition to take on Narendra Modi in 2024.
In fact, Pinarayi has come a long way from what he was back in 2016, when he took over the reigns of the state government. The masses who once used to acknowledge the harsh-faced, no-nonsense Communist, grudgingly seem to have finally found their saviour in Pinarayi.
The back-to-back calamities that rocked the state in the last five years contributed majorly in shaping Pinarayi not just as the 'Captain' of the ship, but also won over the masses who, till then, were averse to his almost dictatorial administrative style of functioning. This sweeping electoral verdict is also his reply to his critics within the party and the Left front who were baying for his blood after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll debacle.
The resounding victory with 99 seats has not only come as a major morale booster for the two Left parties - CPM and CPI - which have been reduced to a mere patch in the national political scenario, but has also given hopes of a re-emergence for the two Communist parties.
With hardly any presence in Parliament, such a victorious margin was essential for the two Left parties to remain relevant, given the current ever-changing political permutations and combinations. Given the current national scenario where the Sangh Parivar politics has been facing stiff opposition from several pockets, this victory has multi-dimensional proportions, opines CPM politburo member MA Baby.
“At a time when challenges posed by the BJP are manifold, it shows that the country has no future without a Left alternative. During these trying Covid times, the state government was able to showcase itself as the real alternative. The formation of a Left government will strengthen the ongoing struggles and activities to take it forward for another five years,” he affirmed.It is now time for the Left to work out a long-term plan on how to totally transform Kerala in the next ten years. If the government follows a manifesto-driven path, it could be truly inspirational both at the national and international level too.
Political commentator J Prabhash however feels that Pinarayi has never evinced interest in ever stepping politically beyond the borders of Kerala. "He wants to confine himself to Kerala. He never had national aspirations. He could have been the catalyst to bring together regional parties opposing the BJP, but age is against him. An apt leadership role should ideally originate from the party central leadership," he feels.
Having said that, the wider scope of the people's verdict now remains to be seen. At the start of this second innings, the Kannur strongman has clearly overshadowed the Left patriarchs in claiming his position in the Leftist political firmament in Kerala.
Pinarayi has of course not only scripted history, but has more importantly drawn a clear divide in the state's political history - the Before and After Pinarayi eras.