The two Left parties - Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India – are going in for introspection over the drubbing they received in the Corporation elections in Coimbatore.
The CPI (M) has won only a seat in the 100-member Corporation Council. And the CPI zero.
In the run-up to the polling, the two parties, traditional allies, parted ways as the Marxist party sewed an alliance with actor Vijayakant's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam. As per the arrangement, the CPM contested in 19 wards, leaving the rest 81 to the DMDK.
Left fuming, the CPI was forced to go it alone. It contested in 22 wards.
This is for the councillors' post. The CPM also fielded a candidate for the mayor's post, U.K. Sivagnanam. He not only finished fourth with 32,834 votes but also lost his deposit.
Right from the word go, the parties did not get it right as they failed to fight together the election, says a CPI member. His party spent its time and energy more on forging an alliance and less on meeting the people and mobilising votes.
Until the last minute, the CPI cadres were left guessing who would contest and where. Such state of affairs demoralise the workers, especially when they see other party workers canvassing votes.
And this is only telling on the votes the party's contestants have secured. Twenty of the 22 contestants lost their deposit. A few, including a sitting councillor, scored votes only in two digits.
The two parties also fought each other in six wards – 40, 49, 51, 60, 70 and 84. In Ward 40, the CPI candidate S. Bagyalakshmi secured the second position and the CPM candidate V. Ramamoorthi the third position.
If the parties had fought together they would have polled 3,506 votes, at least 1,000 votes more than the winning candidate.
Acknowledging the defeat, M. Arumugham, the party's district secretary and Valparai MLA, says all is not bad, though. In five wards, the party's candidates have secured the second spot and have polled well in a few others.
“It is a massive AIADMK wave and that has to be factored in. Plus, voters' perception that only an AIADMK-majority council will help them get freebies also played a role.”
Sources in the Marxist party say they did not gain much from the alliance with the DMDK. The party, unlike CPI or CPM, does not have strong local units and support organisations like trade unions. The time the party got from the State Election Commission was too short.
These are only a few of the reasons for the party going down from seven seats in the last Council to a seat this time.
They also say that the voters in the lower income group voted for the AIADMK to get freebies, the middle income group again voted for the AIADMK thinking that only the ruling party will bring in development, they add.
The two parties will shortly go in for result analysis and developing strategies to regain strength in the coming days, sources in the parties add.