By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The stunning defeat of the Left Front in the Tripura Assembly elections has badly rattled the CPI(M) in Kerala.
Needless to say, the spectacular victory scored by the BJP in the state will, in all probability, induce a rethink in the State CPI(M) camp over its hardline vis-a-vis an understanding with the Congress in the battle against the BJP-RSS combine.
An immediate fallout of the Tripura loss could be greater support for the Sitaram Yechury line advocating some kind of an understanding with the Congress to preventing the BJP from retaining power in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
Although the top Kerala leaders are putting up a brave front, it is clear that the breach of the red citadel in Tripura has shaken them to the very core. Of course, they are trying to draw as much comfort as is possible by claiming that the demographics in Kerala are entirely different from that obtaining in Tripura.
Be that as it may, one thing is clear. The Kerala CPI(M) will now come under greater pressure to change its hardline stance against having any truck with the Congress at the national level.What it means in other words is that more leaders from Kerala could now get off the fence and adopt a pro-Yechury stance.
As of now, only veteran VS Achuthanandan has come out openly in support of the Yechury line. VS again voiced, immediately after the Tripura result came out, the paramount need for all secular, democratic forces in the country to come together to defeat the march of the communal and fascist forces led by the BJP-RSS combination.
The forthright VS stance has added to the pressure on the Kerala CPI(M) leadership. What remains to be seen is how many more leaders would now identify themselves with the sentiments expressed by Achuthanandan.
It is as clear as daylight that the CPI(M) leaders hailing from the southern districts of the State are already extremely unhappy about the politics of violence being assiduously propagated by the Kannur lobby headed by district CPI(M) chief P. Jayarajan. They are of the view that the murder of Youth Congress worker Shuhaib has badly tarnished the image of the party.
It may be mentioned that Polit Buro member M A Baby was the first to deplore publicly the politics of murder and violence. Baby made no bones about his disapproval of murder politics. Such negative tactics are counter-productive and would dent the party’s support base, added Baby, who is one of the delegates chosen for the party congress to be held in Hyderabad in April. In the post-Tripura debacle setting, the million dollar question being asked is: will Baby and others of his persuasion come out openly in support of the Yechury line, braving the diktats of the powerful Pinarayi-Kodiyeri duo?
Another leader who could join the pro-Yechury chorus is finance minister Thomas Isaac. It may be mentioned that Isaac had stayed away from voting on the issue in the Central Committee by leaving Kolkatta before the day of voting! Among the other southern leaders who may spring a surprise on the Pinarayi-Kodiyeri duo is LDF convener Vaikkom Viswan.
On the other hand, leaders belonging to the Kannur lobby would stand by the Pinarayi line stressing the need for keeping the Congress at bay. Leaders like EP Jayarajan, P K Sreemathi are solid supporters of Pinarayi and state party secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
Whatever the denouement, one thing can be said with certainty. The Kerala lobby’s anti-Congressism has lost much of its force in the wake of the Tripura setback. The Kerala leaders would find it harder now to sell their line of blind anti-Congressism at the Hyderabad Congress. (IPA Service)
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