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In Tripura, ‘Communist Party of Kerala’ Scripts its Impending Doom

CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury must be privately smiling at the rout in Tripura as it is a rout that has proven him right about the BJP being the greater enemy. The question is whether the CPM Kerala unit will persist in its bull-headed opposition to any alliance with the Congress.

Achyuth Punnekat | News18.com

Updated:March 3, 2018, 12:35 PM IST
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In Tripura, ‘Communist Party of Kerala’ Scripts its Impending Doom
File photos of CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury. (PTI)
Thiruvananthapuram: In far off Tripura, the future of the Communist Party of Kerala has been scripted. For essentially that is what the CPM is now reduced to — a player only in the southern state, intent on clinging on to power through myopia and murder.

Although it may have spoilt his chances of returning to the Rajya Sabha, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury must be privately smiling at the rout in Tripura as it is a rout that has proven him right about the BJP being the greater enemy. The question is whether the CPM Kerala unit will persist in its bull-headed opposition to any alliance with the Congress.

It is evident that the CPM cannot fight this battle alone. It is also the bravado of Pinarayi & Co. to think they alone can trounce the BJP’s well-oiled election machine. There are three points to be highlighted:


Point 1

The BJP is already eyeing a second seat in the Kerala Assembly. It has fielded the popular former state president Sreedharan Pillai for the upcoming Chengannur bypoll. Pillai had been runner-up in the same Christian-dominated seat in 2016, winning over 42,000 votes. The Left has fielded a Christian, Saji Cherian. The problem is there is a very real danger of the Christian vote getting split if the Congress fields a Christian too. That gives Pillai all the advantage. Ultimately, the CPM’s strategy betrays its keenness to fight the Congress, than arrest the growth of the BJP.


Point 2

The recent murder of Congress worker Shuhaib in the politically sensitive Kannur district has put the CPM in a spot. Till now, political violence had been largely restricted to CPM vs RSS/BJP. There was, in some ways, a sense (at least among the sensible) that the former was falling into a vicious circle of violence scripted by the latter. However, Shuhaib’s murder, allegedly by CPM sympathisers, has completely swung public opinion against the party. Even more telling is the fact that the only retribution from the Congress has been a strike by former minister K Sudhakaran. So is Congress really the fierce enemy it is made out to be by Kerala comrades?


Point 3

At the recently concluded Central Committee meeting, Sitaram Yechury’s resolution for a tie-up with the Congress was defeated 55-31. The entire operation was executed by Prakash Karat, who has emerged the voice of Pinarayi. It is ironic that Karat himself was one of the architects of UPA-I. It is evident Karat has put his personal differences with Yechury above the party’s welfare. The resolution has sent alarm bells ringing among minority leaders in Kerala. Even Left-leaning Bishops like Geevarghese Coorilose, called it “CPM’s second historic blunder”.


CPM enjoys a considerable Hindu base. But in Kerala it has been careful to keep minorities happy too. Pinarayi Vijayan’s ascent to power went hand-in-hand with an outreach to both the Muslim and Christian communities who traditionally backed the Congress-led UDF. The more it opposes the Congress while ignoring the BJP, the more the minorities will feel the CPM is not up to the task of protecting their interests.


The rising support for the BJP among the youth means Kerala’s politics will not remain bipolar for long. The next rude shock for the CPM will come in Kerala. It is only a matter of time. The question now is — will Pinarayi Vijayan end up being the last communist Chief Minister of Kerala?

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