CPI (M), undoubtedly the most dominant political party in Kerala, faced a colossal fall in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) managed only one out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state, and interestingly, most of their defeats were with a margin of more than 1 lakh votes. The unexpected defeat and the considerable reduction in vote share have already pulled the Pinarayi Vijayan government to a state of defence, and political experts believe that this is just the beginning, and what awaits the LDF is more challenging days where they will face strong threats from both UDF and NDA.
So, what worked against LDF, especially CPI (M) in this Lok Sabha elections. International Business Times, India present you the five factors that led to CPI (M) colossal fall.
The arrogance of top leaders who already forgot the values of Marxism
People in Kerala, especially those who live in the northern region of the state, have an affinity towards left for ages. However, when we analyse the recent election results, CPI (M) has lost a majority of votes from these areas. In Pinarayi Vijayan's legislative Assembly too, CPI (M) faced a lethal fall, and as per reports, they lost 10 per cent of the votes when compared to last elections.
So, what made CPI (M) lose their popularity in these regions? The answer is very simple - the arrogance of top leaders, especially while facing the media has played a crucial role in putting the party under a bad light. It should be noted that Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI (M)'s face in Kerala, has insulted journalists multiple times, and videos of those incidents went viral on online spaces. In this era of social media and independent journalism, clips like these have the potential to create a negative wave among the general public who hold a neutral mindset.
Citing another example, Remya Haridas, the winner of Alathur constituency, was a very unfamiliar name when Congress announced her candidature. However, she became an acceptable face among the general public when LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan, and so-called intellectuals like Deepa Nishanth made derogatory comments against the Congress candidate.
Glorification of political murders
The performance of CPI (M) leaders in various news channel's prime time debate shows have also negatively impacted the party's run in this year's election. CPI (M) leaders like AN Shamseer, Mohammed Riyaz, and Aanathalavattam Aanandhan have several times justified the political killings allegedly carried out by the party in the state, and this shameless glorification of bloodshed has made many believe that CPI (M) is a party that supports violence.
Minority appeasement and Sabarimala issue
CPI (M) is a party that is known for secular ideologies and socialistic values. However, in the past few years, the party has shown visible minority appeasement, and luckily, their appeasement agenda worked well for them in the previous elections. However, after the Sabarimala issue, things took a new turn, and CPI (M)'s hurry to allow women in the temple made many people believe that the party is against religious practices.
Even people in the minority category also considered CPI (M)'s move not suitable in a country where religious beliefs are protected. Political experts believe that Christians and Muslims were also worried about Sabarimala issues as they thought that the next targets will be churches and mosques.
Wrong selection of candidates
Even though promising parliamentarians like MB Rajesh lost the polls in a narrow margin, political experts claim that the party has made some wrong selections while choosing candidates in various constituencies. Even people with below average political literacy were well aware that candidates like Innocent (Chalakkudy) and PV Anwar (Ponnani) will surely fail in the elections. Party's decision to nominate reigning MLAs as candidates in Lok Sabha elections also worked against CPI (M).
Kerala's strong stand against BJP
People in Kerala have a secular mindset, and they have always tried to stay away from the Hindutva politics put forward by the BJP, controlled by RSS in disguise. Most of the voters in Kerala wanted to see the fall of BJP, and they believed that the only alternative for the ruling party will be Congress.
Keralites are well aware that CPI (M) has already lost grounds in West Bengal and Tripura, and this makes the party incapable to do anything in Lok Sabha. To get a better government, and if not, a strong opposition, Keralites decided to choose Congress.
[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not reflect that of International Business Times, India]