CPI announces candidates in Kerala for Lok Sabha elections

Viswam says minority community have abandoned an increasingly saffronised Congress for the LDF

Updated - February 26, 2024 08:41 pm IST

Published - February 26, 2024 08:36 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Annie Raja, V.S. Sunil Kumar, Pannian Raveendran and C.A. Arun Kumar

Annie Raja, V.S. Sunil Kumar, Pannian Raveendran and C.A. Arun Kumar | Photo Credit: TH

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has announced its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. CPI State secretary Binoy Viswam said Pannian Raveendran would contest from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, Annie Raja from Wayanad, V.S. Sunil Kumar from Thrissur, and C.A. Arunkumar from Mavelikara.

He said the CPI’s State executive and State council had approved the names unanimously. The party’s district committees forwarded three names for every LS segment.

Rahul’s candidature

He said the Congress was welcome to field Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad. “Let anybody come,” he said. However, Mr. Viswam added a rider to the challenge. He said Congress should tell voters whether it reckoned the BJP or the LDF as its main enemy.

Mr. Viswam said that if the Congress fancied the BJP as the main antagonist, then Mr. Gandhi should confront the adversary on its home turf in Uttar Pradesh. He claimed that the BJP’s electoral prospects in Kerala were zero. Hence, it made no sense for Mr. Gandhi to abandon the larger battle in the Hindi heartlands to skirmish with an INDIA bloc ally in Kerala. “Congress should display some political wisdom,” he said.

Mr. Viswam said the Congress had given a whip hand to the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls by fielding Mr. Gandhi in Wayanad instead of Amethi in UP. “The BJP portrayed it as cowardice and electorally benefitted from the propaganda,” Mr. Viswam said.

He said the sizeable minority communities and secular-minded Hindus in Kerala, who were in the majority, were increasingly sceptical of Congress’s secular credentials. They had authored an overwhelming LDF win in the recent LSGI byelections. The results were a reliable bellwether of the electorate’s political orientation, Mr. Viswam said.

He said Congress’s ambivalence towards the consecration of the Ram Temple built on the ruins of the Babri Masjid had eroded its standing among minorities, and the resentment would play to LDF’s advantage in the LS elections.

‘Courting Christians’

Mr. Viswam said the BJP’s brazen attempts to court Christian votes at made-for-television events with Church leaders would come to nought. The glad-handing would not erase the painful images of vandalised churches, smouldering prayer halls, and terrified parishioners in the BJP-ruled States, chiefly Manipur.

Mr. Viswam did not rule out a Congress-BJP accord at the hustings to hobble LDF’s electoral prospects. He said the ideological boundary between the two parties was blurred, and Congress leaders had no compunction about defecting to the BJP at the drop of a hat. Hence, Mr. Viswam said, a vote for Congress would translate in realpolitik as a vote for the BJP.

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