In moment of defeat, all eyes on Pinarayi Vijayan

Despite the humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Pinarayi never once faced any threat from within.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi VijayanPhoto | Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hardly a year after he had taken over for the first time in 2017, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan came under the line of fire from within his own clan. A ‘dhoti-clad Modi in disguise’ was how he was termed by a CPI leader. Since then, Pinarayi has remained a constant companion of controversies. That, however, did not affect his standing as the Captain helming the Left ship.

Despite the humiliating defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Pinarayi never once faced any threat from within. The historic win in the 2021 assembly polls, reinforced his ‘Captain’ status within the LDF. He never shied from taking on Prime Minister Modi on various issues, thereby lending him the aura of a ‘national-level’ politician.

Despite this, the Left’s disastrous showing at the 2024 LS polls is majorly attributed to very strong undercurrents of the anti-Pinarayi factor that played a crucial role in the UDF’s thumping victory.

In a first, the state witnessed three anti-incumbency waves - one against the Left government in the state, the second against the Modi government at the Centre and the third against sitting UDF MPs in many constituencies, however feeble. Among these, it was decidedly the prevailing anti-Pinarayi sentiment among the majority of voters that played a significant role in handing victory to the UDF on a platter, as well as aiding the Lotus to finally bloom in the state, observed political commentators.

The abject failure of the police in a slew of issues like Sidharthan death, combined with the CM’s controversial utterances on issues like the ones related to Nava Kerala Yatra, and reluctance to distance himself from DYFI violence have also contributed to the masses eyeing him with distrust.

There was in addition, a general sentiment that a deliberate attempt was being made to sideline senior leaders like K K Shailaja and T M Thomas Isaac, who played key roles in ensuring the Left government’s continuity in office.

Many believe that instead of trying to justify, the CM should have simply tried to come clean on allegations against his daughter. “Never before has a CPM chief minister’s family come under a shadow of corruption charges like this. Unless the party and the government go into introspection mode, the sole Left bastion in the country will sooner or later be lost,” said political commentator N M Pearson.

Nevertheless, the CPM is unlikely to put any blame on its ‘tallest’ leader at least for now. The party, even after discussions, is unlikely to think about any change in its leadership roles soon.

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The New Indian Express