By P. Sreekumaran
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 Kanam.
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 saffron menace.
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)