The party is still undecided on supporting the UDF

Constituency watch: Kerala

The Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) appears to be caught on the horns of a dilemma as electioneering slowly picks up momentum in the State.

The two-year-old party is still dithering whether to support the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) even while mounting its attack on the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M]. Floated as a dissident outfit of the CPI (M) by the slain T.P. Chandrasekaran, the RMP is stuck in a time-warp without adopting a clear political line. Incidentally, the present Lok Sabha poll is also the first major election taking place after the killing of Chandrasekharan on May 4, 2012.

As of now the party has put up candidates in nine Lok Sabha seats and has also tied up with the SUCI and the Marxist Communist Party of India in some constituencies while backing a few Independents in others. Significantly, the party tactically decided not to field K.K. Rema, widow of Chandrasekharan, whose candidature would have benefitted the CPI (M).

Murder politics

The campaigns of RMP candidates P. Kumarankutty in Vadakara and N.V. Pratap Kumar in Kozhikode, where the party has a formidable presence, dwelt mostly on the recurring theme of alleged murder politics of the CPI (M) and the police investigation into the killing of Chandrasekharan. Its leadership says that the RMP candidatures will be crucial in the Vadakara and Kozhikode constituencies, but they also admit that they want the UDF to win these seats.

However, political observers feel that the party has lost its sheen in the last two years with many workers either remaining inactive or rejoining the parent organisation. Had the party aligned with Congress-led UDF, the RMP would have gained better considering the electoral histories of splinter groups that left the CPI (M) or the LDF coalition. It would have got acceptance in the 2016 Assembly polls once it surfaced as a dominant player in Kozhikode district.

Adding to the woes of the party now is the volte-face of the Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, who has endorsed the official stand of the party. No secret it is that the RMP has been born out of the factional feud in the CPI(M) in the district although it was generally believed to be over the swapping of the post of Eramala panchayat to the Janata Dal (S) in 2008.

Political acumen

Certainly the death of Chandrasekharan had left a huge political void in the party. But his successors had not acquired his political acumen that saw Chandrasekaran spurning offers from the UDF last time to contest the Lok Sabha polls against the CPI (M) candidate.

Then Chandrasekharan wanted to prove that his Edathupaksha Ekopana Samiti was a regional force challenging the CPI (M). He proved that in the Lok Sabha polls as well in the three-tier grama panchayat elections held in 2010.

The role of dissidents in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls resulted in the Congress candidates M.K. Raghavan in Kozhikode and Mullappally Ramachandran in Vadakara emerging victorious.

Now the emerging political scenario is different. Aligning with a conglomeration of expelled CPI (M) workers would neither expand the party base nor fetch votes, observers said.

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