THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Pradesh
Congress Committee(KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran’s offer to the
CPI(M) to have an alliance with that party in Kerala if it gives up the
politics of violence is an eminently sensible idea whose time has come.
It needed a lot of courage for a KPCC
president to make such an offer given the unremitting hostility between the
Congress and the CPI(M) in ther State.
Only a leader of unimpeachable integrity like Mullappally could have
come out with such an offer against the backdrop of an unrelenting face-off between
the two parties.
However, the initial reaction from
both the camps has been anything but positive.
CPI(M) Politburo member M A Baby was
prompt in saying No to the offer. “There
is no question of having any truck with the Congress in Kerala,” Baby said,
adding that the idea was only Mullappally’s wishful thinking.
The response from the Congress camp was equally hostile. Former KPCC
president K. Muralidharan, MLA, said the Congress could do well without an
alliance with the CPI(M).
The response from CPI State chief
Kanam Rajendran was equally hostile. “I don’t think the Congress itself is
serious about this. I do not take Mullappally Ramachandran’s offer seriously.
We should not waste our time by reacting to such irrelevant statements,” opined
Obviously under pressure from his own
party, Mullappally hastened to add that his offer was only to forge a broad
front to fight the fascist forces led by the BJP-RSS. There can be no seat
adjustments for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, pointed out Mullappally.
Be that as it may, one thing has to be
said. Neither the Congress nor the CPI(M) should rule out the possibility of an
understanding between the two parties if they are sincere about countering the
Mullappally is right when he says
that seat adjustments are not easy to
achieve. But it is not an impossible task either. Both the parties can,
say, reach an understanding on fighting
the BJP at least in those seats where the BJP has a reasonably good chance of
winning like Thiruvananthapuram, , Pathanamthitta, Kasargod and Palakkad. If
the two parties can manage an understanding, then the question of BJP opening
its Lok Sabha account from Kerala does not arise at all.
But if they fail to do so, then the
BJP has a distinct chance of romping home the winner from
Thiruvananthapuram. It may be mentioned
that out of the seven constituencies that make up the Thiruvananthapuram
constituency, the BJP came first in three assembly segments. And, remember,
Thiruvananthapuram boasts of a substantial section of Nadar and Nair voters.
The BJP will certainly slice away a big chunk of their votes besides cutting
into the Congress votes. That being the reality, only a tactical voting can
stop the BJP from emerging the winner.
Same is the case with Pathanamthitta
which includes the hill shrine of Sabarimala which was, and continues to be,
the eye of a political storm that battered the State. The BJP hopes it can
secure a bigger slice of the Hindu vote in the wake of what it calls fabulous response
to its agitation on Sabarimala. Both the Congress and the CPI(M) cannot but
factor in this political reality while finalising their candidates.
Last but not the least, neither the
Congress nor the CPI(M) will be a loser even if they fight each other in Kerala. Both are set to win a
number of seats from the state. Although
some surveys give the Congress-led UDF an edge, it won’t be easy for the
UDF to wrest seats from a determined and aggressive CPI(M)-led LDF.
In a post-poll scenario, the CPI(M)
will have to support a Congress-led coalition at the Centre, should the
anti-BJP front find itself in a position to form the government at the Centre.
The CPI(M) can take a cue from its support to the UPA one Government and its
success in getting the Manmohan Government to take a few pro-people measures
like the MGNREGA and the Right to Information law.
The CPI(M) must realize that the days
of blind anti-Congressism are long past. The paramount need of the hour is to
stop the BJP from retaining power at the Centre. A hopeful sign is the slight
change in the attitude of Kerala CPI(M) leaders to an understanding with the
Congress in Bengal. (IPA Service)