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The Left has little new to offer

Nowhere is the CPI(M)’s apparent death wish more evident than in Kerala, the home of the world’s first elected communist government. Faced with a tough election, the Left has little new to offer to the young, energetic voter.

ht view Updated: Apr 09, 2014 23:17 IST

If anyone were ever to write a book titled ‘How to lose friends and prejudice people’ chances are that the author would be a leader of the CPI(M).

Nowhere is the CPI(M)’s apparent death wish more evident than in Kerala, the home of the world’s first elected communist government. Faced with a tough election, the Left has little new to offer to the young, energetic voter.

Its leaders are glacially distant people in Delhi who neither know nor care about the changing face of Kerala politics.

The party general secretary, Prakash Karat, himself a Malayalee, makes speeches in English, which even in this highly literate state does not go down very well.

But it is the blood curdling violence that the Left unleashes against its foes that has got people thinking. The murder of TP Chandrasekharan, a rebel CPI(M) leader, is a talking point in this election.

The state leadership tried to cover up the involvement of its cadre only to be caught out by the courts.

The party then conducted a kangaroo court hearing against Abdul Shakoor in Kannur of the Muslim Student Federation and hacked him to death.

On the heels of this, the CPI(M) thugs attacked an innocent man, mistaking him for a turncoat.

The CPI(M) has outsourced many of these killings to goons who claim that they are from the Left as the real members want little to do with these murders. In addition, old RSS hands have come into the CPI(M), some of them blacklegs from the NaMo Manch. The Marxists have lost their ideological and moral moorings in many parts of the state.

This attempt to intimidate people has led to great revulsion against the LDF. While it is still strong in many pockets, the fact that the Revolutionary Socialist Party has broken off from the Left Democratic Front and joined the ruling United Democratic Front has hurt it badly.

Premachandran of the RSP, an ardent Leftist for over 32 years, is contesting against his former comrade in Kollam. The CPI(M)’s highhandedness is driving people out, he says, adding that it sidelined all the constituents of the LDF.

CPI(M) state unit secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has singlehandedly tried to marginalise the Left’s most popular leader and former chief minister VS Achuthanandan, a move which has cost the party dearly.

But both Vijayan and Karat seem oblivious to the fact that the state is slipping out of their grasp.

If the Left loses its grip in Kerala, it is staring down a political abyss. It is not going great guns in West Bengal and could take comfort that the political Malayalee still cared for its outdated shibboleths.

Neither Marxist ideology nor its rule by fear is cutting any ice with the youth. Maybe a reading of the original book How to win friends and influence people may make more sense for the comrade than ploughing through volumes of Marx and Engels.