Kerala: CPI(M) admits loss in LS polls, but shifts blame to Congress, 'Muslim extremist forces', Vellapalli

Party to prepare directive document for govt, examine priorities

M.V. Govindhan (File) CPI(M) Kerala Secretary M.V. Govindhan addressing a party meeting

In recent days, the CPI(M) state secretariat and state committee analysed the heavy electoral defeat that the ruling party faced in Kerala during the Lok Sabha elections. Today, CPI(M) state secretary M.V. Govindan elaborated on the “reasons” behind the party's loss. The CPI(M) managed to win just one seat from Kerala in the elections, with a strong anti-incumbency wave against the LDF government and strong anti-Pinarayi Vijayan sentiments cited by many as the major reasons for the party’s debacle.

Reportedly, there has been strong criticism of the government, especially regarding Vijayan’s functioning style, even within LDF ally, CPI, platforms. However, when Govindan explained the reasons for the failure, he attributed more of the blame to external factors than to internal issues within the LDF, and decided to be the shield for every criticism against CM Vijayan. Notably, Govindan had more advice for external entities than for his party’s government and chief minister.

Govindan started his explanatory press meet by admitting that the LDF and the CPI(M) faced "nalla parajayam" (heavy defeat). This admission of defeat itself is a humbling moment, as during the campaign phase, Govindan had made an absurd claim to local media that even if the party won "two seats, it would be a recognition for the government”. He explained this by saying, "You know why it is so, because last time, we had just one seat. There is no issue of popularity for our government."

Govindan then started explaining the various factors that led to the poll debacle. The first one on the list was that a vast majority saw Congress, and not CPI(M), as the bulwark that can form a government defeating the BJP at the Centre. “In Kerala, there is a fight between the CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-led UDF. And, when this national scenario was there in front of people, it became a limitation for us,” Govindan explained.

Interestingly, the party’s election slogan in Kerala during campaign phase was “Idathundenkile India Ullu (Only if Left exists, then India would exist)”. Seems like the state secretary himself admitted that this slogan could not catch the imagination of the people of Kerala.

Govindan then proceeded to say that the UDF, led by Congress, and constituted by parties like the Indian Union Muslim League, had received support from “Muslim extremist” organizations like Jamaat-e-Islami, Welfare Party, and SDPI. “They all worked together as if they were all part of an alliance,” said Govindan, while adding that his party is always against majoritarian communalism as well as minoritarian communalism.

Govindan then directed his attack towards Vellappalli Nadesan, the General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, the social organisation of Ezhavas in Kerala. He started this third external factor citing that leadership of certain community organisations and parties raising identity politics have become submissive to the communal politics of RSS and Sangh Parivar. Ezhava community is traditionally the major vote base for CPI(M). Govindan made a frontal attack against Nadesan and his family, saying that his son Tushar-led BDJS party and his wife are all in the RSS camp and there were instrumental efforts from the SNDP leadership to divert votes in favour of BJP.

Govindan, then observed that a considerable share of Christian votes also went in favour of BJP. He cited that the church leaders had faced “threats” and even some of the bishops had worked in favour of the saffron party. Govindan also made the observation that a large section of votes that leaked from UDF in Thrissur and worked in favour of the BJP had been Christian votes. During the Q&A session following his “explanation”, Govindan made another comment that suggested that the Churches have been facing issues, including those related to “funding”, and that also affected the shift of the Christian population to the BJP.

Govindan then admitted that the state government’s failure in disbursing welfare pensions and DA to government employees on time affected people’s perception. “Janangalude Manobhawam manasilakkan sadhichilla (We could not understand the mindset of people),” he confessed.

Interestingly, this was followed by Govindan extending complete protection for Chief Minister Vijayan. “The stance taken by right-wing media became crucial. There was a concerted effort to attack Pinarayi and his family. They targeted Pinarayi and the leadership. Such campaigns had an impact among people,” he said.

when Govindan was asked whether there requires a change in the functioning style of CM Vijayan, he replied: “What style should change? It was with this style [of Vijayan] that the LDF earned the consecutive term.”

Govindan announced that in the wake of the defeat, a directive document will be prepared for the government’s actions, and there will be an examination of what actions to prioritize. He also announced that the setback to the party will be examined from the bottom up and that mass gatherings will be held in all local committees. 


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