Tough questions await CPI(M) leadership at post-poll meet

LDF insiders, known for their adeptness at reading the political tea leaves, are not entirely optimistic about the ruling front’s prospects in the local body elections in 2025 and beyond.

Updated - June 06, 2024 05:03 am IST

Published - June 05, 2024 09:17 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Pinarayi Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo Credit: PTI

Political anxiety over the erosion of Left Democratic Front (LDF) votes might loom over the CPI(M) State leadership when it meets here in mid-June to evaluate the party’s stunning reversal of fortunes in the just-concluded concluded Lok Sabha elections.

LDF insiders, known for their adeptness at reading the political tea leaves, are not entirely optimistic about the ruling front’s prospects in the local body elections in 2025 and beyond.

Their concerns add weight to the potential challenges the LDF may face, including in the Assembly byelections for the seats vacated by CPI(M) leader K. Radhakrishnan and Congress legislator Shafi Parambil, who has been elected to the lower House of Parliament.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front’s (UDF) domination in 110 Assembly constituencies and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s leads in 11 has unsettled the LDF.

Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K. Mani vocalised the purported disquiet in the LDF in Kottayam on Wednesday. He attributed his party’s loss in the Kottayam constituency to the erosion of LDF votes.

By initial estimates, Bharath Dharma Jena Sena candidate Tushar Vellappally, an NDA ally, had played a spoilsport for the LDF in Kottayam in several backward class-dominated Assembly segments, including Vaikom. The LDF could maintain its domination only in 19 Assembly segments.

BJP leader Sobha Surendran’s stunning gains in the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency, widely reckoned as a CPI(M) bastion, has vexed the LDF.

Mr. Mani’s position appeared to belie CPI(M) State secretary M.V. Govindan’s claim that the LDF had preserved its core base. He told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the ruling front’s vote share had only dwindled marginally, by an estimated 1%.

In comparison, the United Democratic Front lost 5% of its votes. Mr. Govindan alleged that the UDF’s vote had shifted to the BJP, an accusation vehemently denied by the Opposition.

Congress political warhorse K. Muraleedharan’s loss to Suresh Gopi has stirred a rebellion in the party in Thrissur. A section of leaders have accused the party’s local leadership of opening the door for the BJP. Mr Muraleedharan has threatened to recuse himself from politics.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s celebrity candidate’s decisive victory in Thrissur has provided a sorely needed bright spot for the NDA in Kerala. The BJP has gained a toehold in Kerala and Mr Gopi’s startling win has provided a high-profile victory for the party to rally around. 

BJP State president K. Surendran cast the results in Kerala as a test case for the local body elections 2025 and beyond.  He said the NDA was poised to end the LDF-UDF revolving door politics in Kerala.

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