Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Pannian Ravindran counts the unity among the partners in the Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) as its biggest source of strength this time. With this as the foundation, the alliance has been able to reach out to hitherto inaccessible sections of the electorate, he says. Excerpts from an interview:
Question: How would you rate the chances of the LDF in these elections?
Answer: We are hoping big this time. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the political climate is different this time. Last time, there was no meeting of minds in the LDF. The dispute we had with the CPI(M) over the Ponnani seat had affected our chances. This time round, we have had no such dispute. Left parties are in perfect understanding now. We are sure that we have the support of several sections that had stayed away from us in the past.
Q: What about RSP’s exit? Has it not raised doubts about Left unity?
A: Their exit did cause some pain to all of us. We could understand it if they had gone over some political issue. What pains us is that they have left us over a seat. When we had a dispute over seat-sharing with the CPI(M) in 2009, our then State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan would only go so far as to say that our party would contest the elections all by ourselves. They say that they had placed their demand before the leadership in writing six months ago. We were not aware of anything like that. Even when the issue came up for discussion, we were all for a discussion, but by then they had already made up their mind to go.
Q: What is this charge about ‘payment seats’ against the LDF?
A: Absolute nonsense! This is nothing but a deliberate propaganda triggered by Congress leaders, including V.M. Sudheeran, out of fear of defeat. We are sure that people will see through their games. They are worried about Thiruvananthapuram in particular because in 2009, P. Ramachandran Nair lost to Shashi Tharoor only because [A.] Neelalohithadasn Nadar secured 84,000 votes. If we get Ramachandran Nair’s 2,26,000 votes plus Neelan’s 84,000, they will be defeated. That is why they have unleashed this campaign.
Q: Do you think you enjoy the kind of advantage when the ‘solar scam’ was the main talking point?
A: Both ‘solar’ and the Kasturirangan issues are to our advantage. We are also raising other such as price rise and the failure of the eight Ministers in the UPA government to ensure that Kerala has got what it deserved. They could do nothing when Tuticorin was promoted at the expense of Vizhinjam or when the coach factory at Rae Bareili began functioning even as the Palakkad coach factory failed to take off, to name just two major failures. How can they ask for the votes of our people after all this?
The ‘solar’ and Kasturirangan issues are to our advantage