By P. Sreekumaran
setbacks within a fortnight. That has been the lot of the CPI(M), which heads
the Left Democratic Front Government in the kerala.
The double blow came even as
the formidable electoral juggernaut of the CPI(M) had just started rolling out.
The LDF had taken out two political ‘jathas’, one led by CPI(M) state secretary
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and the other led by CPI state secretary, Kanam Rajendran
to cover the entire state.
The first jolt came in the
form of a CBI charge-sheet against CPI(M) Kannur district secretary P.
Jayarajan in a case related to the murder of Indian Union Muslim League worker,
Ariyil Abdul Shukoor.
The second setback came when
two Youth Congress workers were brutally killed in Kasargode district,
allegedly by CPI(M) activists. Latest reports have it that a CPI(M) local
committee member has been taken into custody in connection with the murder which
led to a statewide hartal on Monday.
The twin developments have
cast a long shadow over the poll prospects of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic
Front(LDF), which was otherwise sitting pretty, at least in the Malabar region.
It has also created uncertainty about the possibility of Jayarajan contesting
in the Lok Sabha polls from either Kannur or Vadakara. Following the filing of the charge-sheet, the
CPI(M) finds it difficult to field Jayarajan.
The CPI(M)’s discomfiture is
the delight of the opposition parties, which have promptly grabbed the chance
with both hands to put the CPI(M) in the
The sympathy wave in the wake
of the murder will, undoubtedly make it extremely hard to retain the Kasargode
seat, a traditional CPI(M) stronghokld. A strong candidate fielded by the
Congress can upset the calculations of the CPI(M). Since the sitting MP, P.
Karunakaran, son-in-law of legendary communist leader AK Gopalan, has completed
three terms, he is unlikely to be the candidate from Kasergode. Karunakaran is
also in poor health. The murder of the YC workers has given the Congress a real
chance to wrest the seat from the CPI(M) this time around.
Similarly, the going would be
tough for the CPI(M) in Kannur as well. In 2014, PK Sreemathy of rthe CPI(M)
managed to defeat Congress strongman. K., Sudhakaran by a narrow maregin of
over 6,000 votes. The Congress will, in all probability, field Sudhakaran
again. In that case Sreemathy, whose performance in the Lok Sabha is nothing to
write home about, will face an uphill
As far as Vadakara is
concerned, the CPI(M) was all set to wrest the seat from Congress, whose
candidate Mullappally Ramachandran romped home with a slender margin of 3,000
votes in 2014. Since Mullappally has
become Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president, he won’t be contesting
unless the High Command makes an exception in his case.
But the charge-sheet against
Jayarajan and the twin murder in Kasargode have completed altered the picture
in the constituency. The CPI(M) has been pushed on to the defensive. If
Ciongress fields Mullappally or a strong candidate, CPI(M)’a hopes of wresting
the seat could be dashed to the ground.
Kiozhikode is another CPI(M)
stronghold which the party had lost to Congress in the last two elections. Here
also, the party had decided to pull out all the stops to unseat sitting
Congress MP, M K Raghavan, who is quite popular in the constituency thanks to
his stellar performance both in Parliament and outside. But murder politics has
come again to haunt the CPI(M). And Kozhikode is unlikely to let Raghavan down
in the changed political scenario obtaining in Kozhikode post-Kasargode murders
and Jayarajan’s charge-sheeting in a murder case.
Wayanad, the safest seat for
Congress in ther Malabar region, would have also faced a stiffer contest this
time. But, the twin setbacks have turned the tide against LDF. Wayanad seat
belongs to the CPI whose candidate Satyan Mokeri gave sitting Congress MP, MY
Shanavas a real scare in 2014. Shanavas, who is no more, had won with a margin
of over one lakh votes in 2009. But in 2014, Satyan went down all guns blazing
after reducing Shanavas’s majorirty to a mere 20,000 odd votes. The CPI will
most probably field the party’s Malappuram district secretary PP Suneer from