Five years ago, when the results of the 2009 Parliamentary election was declared, Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate P.R. Natarajan won Coimbatore seat by polling 38,664 votes more than Congress’ R. Prabhu.
After his five-year tenure as Member of Parliament, when Mr. Natarajan contested the 2014 general election to retain the seat, he polled less than his 2004 victory margin. He secured only 34,197 votes. Or, 2.95 per cent of the total valid votes. His defeated also marked the end of the 10 year representation of the Coimbatore Parliamentary constituency by the Left. In 2004, Communist Party of India’s P. Subbarayan had won securing 5, 03,627 votes.
As for the 2014 election, Mr. Natarajan secured fewer votes in the Coimbatore South Assembly segment of the Parliamentary constituency polling only 3,284 votes. The area is predominantly urban. He polled the highest in the Singanallur Assembly segment 6,606. This is also urban. Mr. Natarajan attributed the defeat to the delayed start of the campaign by his party and its ally, the CPI. “Till the last minute, the two parties were confident of forging an alliance with the AIADMK alliance. But that did not happen. By then most parties had hit the ground running. This delay had cost the two parties dearly.”
Sources in the two parties said that was only one of the reasons. The Modi wave across the country and AIADMK wave in the State had had its impact on the Left parties’ performance, for the votes polled by the victorious AIADMK and the BJP, which emerged second, were very high. And the difference between the two was only a little more than 40,000 votes.
In an election wave it was only natural that other parties performed poorly. And here it was two waves.
A CPI (M) office bearer in the city attributed the poor performance to the failure to connect with the youth as well. Somehow the party leaders did not reach out to the youth, try to understand them and establish a connection. A CPI leader said that the Aam Aadmi Party’s entry did not dent the CPI (M) performance because people pretty well understood the difference between the two parties.
The party’s District Secretary V. Ramamoorthy said that the party leaders were yet to sit for a formal analysis of the results and only then a clear picture would emerge.