Left in the lurch
In My View

Left in the lurch

P.C. Punnen

P.C. Punnen

The Marxist Communist party has won only one seat out of the 20 in Kerala parliament elections. Last elections it had won seven. The CPM lost badly in Bengal and Tripura because the CPM voters preferred the BJP. In Tamil Nadu it won 2 seats.

This shows the party's facing a great problem like that of the Congress, India's oldest political party. Who will take responsibility for this stunning defeat? The CPM Kerala state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had said they will hold a discussion on this very soon. The CPM All India General Secretary Sitaram Yechury is also convening a top level meeting.

What caused the party's bad show? Reasons for this debacle could be as plenty as blueberries. The truth is that the CPM as a party failed to see the danger awaiting the nation as Narendra Modi loomed over Delhi. The party should have formed a national alliance with the Congress and others, like it did in Tamil Nadu, I feel. The reason why it didn't have a national alliance with the Congress, top leaders of the party can explain at least now.

The top leaders will have lots to say. Pinarayi Vijayan's arrogance and his defiance of the culture that the party had, local people say, will figure in the debate. For example an alliance would have won it at least 1 seat in Bengal and reduced the BJP's by one seat. And few more seats in other states.

It is understood that the Ezhavas haven't voted fully for the CPM in this election. A majority of them voted for the Congress thanks to Pinarayi Vijayan's firm stand on the Sabarimala issue which caused the upper caste Hindus also to vote against it. There was a unity of Muslims and Christians. A part of them used to be CPM voters. For fear of the BJP and out of anger towards Kerala's ruling party especially in the Orthodox community, they voted almost entirely for the Congress. Rahul's arrival as a candidate in Wayanad too had an effect on Kerala voters. Therefore the Congress won 15 seats of the 20 and its allies won 4 seats.

A defeat like the one the CPM had in the elections is not strange to them. In the past also CPM had this sort of defeat. I remember one in which a friend Suresh Kurup became the CPM'S sole representative from Kerala.

But this time in Malabar, the bastion of the CPM,  the homeland of Kodiyeri and Pinarayi, which witnessed 2 murders committed by CPM workers just before the elections were announced, resulted in a turn of votes against the Marxist party. For such deeds the Marxists have had to pay a heavy price. That shows the level to which party men will descend.

Pinarayi Vijayan did some good work for Kerala when it faced devastation caused by the floods. He did well to keep his ministers in check. That says a lot for Pinarayi but a lot of things which he did, do not measure up to a chief minister's status. For example during last election campaign he said paramanari (most despicable) referring to NK Premachandran , a former minister in Achuthanathan's government. It caused the defeat of MA Baby a former minister who was contesting against Premachandran.

This time too Pinarayi repeated the 'paramanari' epithet in Kollam. This time also, Premachandran won with a massive margin. With upper level bureaucrats and journalists also the CM’s behaviour is quite uncouth at times. This has rendered a bad image of the party.

His conduct negotiated by electoral gains in the Jacobites and Orthodox Church dispute have also not been good. The Supreme Court issued an order favouring the Orthodox Church. The Jacobite Church's Supreme bishop who announced his resignation recently is said to be a CPM supporter.  The party has taken no stand on the conflict between the two.  It would have been proper if the government had said it would implement the SC order. This is in sharp contrast to the government's move in the Sabarimala case. The SC order implementation is a fair move and the government is implementing it. That is correct. But in the dispute between the Jacobites and Orthodox the government hasn't taken any action,with the result that the Jacobites are for the CPM as far as voting is concerned and the Orthodox against it. The government has appointed a committee which has no legal standing or moral right.

The CPM was different from the Congress, Muslim League, Kerala Congress and the BJP.  In quick times they are becoming the same sort. Their Bengal unit has an alliance with Yechury and the Kerala unit is with Prakash Karat, the former supremo of the CPM. Their fight is continuing says the media. This is not something familiar to old Communists.  They too had leaders who were in dispute over serious matters. For example EMS and Kerala unit secretary Govindan Nair had disputes, yet the party was one with the cadre behaving according to the wishes of the party supremo, in  Russian words apparatchik. The CPM today is like the Congress. Many leaders speak different things in different manners and with different aims. High time the party went back to its old methods; high time the party secretary's comment on the party was approved or obeyed by the chief minister and his ministers.

The party must settle its disputes over many things. For the nation has been taken over by the BJP and in the nation's interest a joint fight against it has to be made. Otherwise we will be in deep trouble with the Hindus, Christians and Muslims fighting each other over silly issues.

Keralites have not taken the BJP seriously. They have seen the danger in backing the BJP. Full marks to them.