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P C Punnen
P C Punnen
In My View

It is Elections Once More

P.C. Punnen

Kerala also will soon have general elections, the most important one. Barring the BJP, other parties have decided on who should contest from which constituency. The Congress took a long time to decide on its contestants. The CPM and the CPI together have denied other parties in their ruling alliance any seats, and they have, for want of a choice, agreed to them.

The BJP hasn't decided on who will contest the Pathanamthitta constituency, a seat which it eyes the most. Sreedharan Pillai, the candidate who contested from Pathanamthitta for the assembly elections and the president of the Kerala unit of the BJP, had high hopes. His hope has been dashed because the RSS wanted K.Surendran to contest there. Alphonse Kannanthanam, a minister in the central government, wanted to contest from Pathanamthitta.  But the party gave him Ernakulam.

The Congress senior leaders like Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and VM Sudheeran, despite their party men's wishes, chose to keep out. They are engaged in the slugfest that has been going on in the party for want of a leader who will dictate what each party man will do, or will not do.

The CPM has fielded eminent candidates who have no prime saying in the party affairs in Kerala.

The game has started. The choice is between enemy number one and enemy number two which can change any time. This seems to be the doctrine of Kerala politics. In that Kerala leads the country. In a state that leads the country in matters like literacy and childcare this weird national game has been different in the sense that it is not done in full view but personally. The coming elections will not change the politics. Aya Ram,  Gaya  Ram is the politics that goes on in North Indian states.  It is condemned with the loudest words by Keralites, but truth to tell, they are shrewder in this matter. They hold discussions with groups to define their crooked politics. The North Indians do not do that. The Samajwadi Party of Akilesh Yadav is in alliance with Mayawati's party, the BSP. Mayawati was the greatest enemy of his father Mulayam Singh Yadav. They fought each other politically. She had aligned with the BJP and ruled Uttar Pradesh.

In TamilNadu both the DMK and the AIADMK aligned with the Congress and the BJP in various elections. Karnataka chief minister Kumaraswamy once sided with the BJP. Today he is with the Congress. Tomorrow will be different, I think.

We may call it a political diktat. The same kind of politics is in our blood. In Kerala the CPM has got the BJP's vote and vice-versa. The need of the hour they call it, but not in public.  This is like how the Christians in Kerala behave. They swear by the Bible in public but violate it at the personal level whenever the occasion demands. That includes the bishop and the layman. This is sheer hypocrisy and bizarre politics of the hour. The word shibboleth is important in this creed.

It seems this game will continue till eternity. It is to be endured. About politicians, we all know. We pretend not to know … but enjoy it. Let us look at the welter of claims and counter claims they indulge in, and laugh at it.

Kerala's ruling party, the CPM, has had a great change, yet some of their actions, some of their beliefs, are the same as in yesteryears. The same can be said about other parties too. The CPM, say local reports and the TV channels quoting surveys will not meet its aims. They say at best it can win only 5 seats in the election to be held for 20 seats. The CPM may get more votes and seats at the cost of the BJP and the Congress. But it would have done better had it held a discussion with Pinarayi Vijayan, party general secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and the party's all India leader Sitaram Yechury.  Yechury could have pressed for an alliance with the Congress like it tried in West Bengal. The CPM could have won more than 50 percent of the seats and the Congress the rest. It would have created a history of sorts in Kerala. It would have helped both parties in the Lok Sabha.

The CPM could have easily claimed the likely to be missed status in parliament. Perhaps it could have created a new Kerala with both the parties writing off their allies like the Muslim League and the Kerala Congress which have 5 leaders claiming to be its fathers; it could have created a new scene in Kerala politics which had been made the ganging together of caste and creed dominated leaders.

Pinarayi and Kodiyeri missed the chance, one can say. They think the BJP will count for grabbing a few Congress votes and would have helped the CPM win handsomely in the elections.

The BJP is most unlikely to win a seat in Kerala. At the national level, Narendra Modi may collect a large number of votes and seats. Let us think he will emerge as the leader of the party which has the largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. In the tussle that is bound to happen among other parties which might create a government that lasts a few years, he will have the last laugh.

In Kerala the BJP hopes it can get enough Hindu votes which used to go to the Congress. But the Keralites know the parties they have been voting for years. They don't mind giving the Congress their vote one more time. Supreme Court is expected to give its verdict in the review petition filed by so many BJP supporters and Sabarimala devotees. The court verdict will be in women's favour, I feel.

The election commission has issued a diktat that Sabarimala shouldn't be made an issue in the elections. The BJP and the VHP have decided to oppose the election commission's diktat. That will, I think, not yield them any results. The BJP and its cohorts will have a pipedream. Sreedharan Pillai can look back to his old job, of a distinguished lawyer.

`````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````(The ideas, opinions and facts expressed in the article are those of the author.)