The CPI (M) is in for a lot of trouble. That is, if early parliamentary elections take place.
In Kolkata, CPI (M) State Committee feels the coming together of the Right and extreme Left forces before the panchayat polls has sealed its fate in around 100 Assembly seats, which after Delimitation can affect at least 10 Lok Sabha seats. In Kerala, LDF leaders admit they may have to pay a heavy price for the record price rise and intense infighting among partners.
The results of panchayat polls in West Bengal have left the Marxists uncomfortable. The CPI (M) State Committee observes that there are at least 10 Lok Sabha seats that have become extremely vulnerable. Parliamentary constituencies Dum Dum, Barrackpore, Diamond Harbour, Jadavpur, Krishnanagar, Sreerampore, Tamluk and Haldia have turned anti-Marxists.
Besides, there are apprehensions that the CPI (M) would not do well in the two metro Lok Sabha seats — the North Kolkata and the South Kolkata constituencies — because the city middle-class seems to have turned against it due to Singur and Nandigram. And the negative vote against the CPI(M) would benefit the Trinamool Congress.
Two Lok Sabha seats in Malda and three seats in Murshidabad are already in the Congress kitty.
CPI (M) state secretary Biman Bose has asked the Alimuddin Street apparatchiks in-charge of these districts to begin the damage control exercise by reaching out to people.
“At present, our only task is to tell people that we are with them. We are not out to evict them from their lands, as being maliciously spread by the media and the Opposition parties,” said Biman Bose.
“We are correcting our mistakes and hope to put things in order before the Lok Sabha polls,” said CPI(M) Parliamentary Party leader Basudev Acharya.
In Kerala, out of 20 Lok Sabha seats the CPM-led LDF holds 19 (the lone UDF MP is Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahmed). But it may be difficult for the LDF to retain even half of it, feel political observers.
To make matters worse, some of the powerful socio-religious organisations have turned against the government. Every week, some Christian diocese or the other exhorts believers to resist the government’s move to rein in church-run institutions. (Christians form about 20 per cent of the total population and Muslims 25 per cent). At least in six constituencies of central Kerala and Travancore region they are the deciding factor.
Traditionally, Christians were UDF supporters. But in the last Lok Sabha and assembly elections, they overwhelmingly supported the LDF, helping it to make deep inroads into the Christian heartland. But this time it would be difficult for it to repeat the same performance.
Malappuram and Kozhikode, the textbook controversy is likely to affect it. Here, some Muslim organisations are on warpath accusing the government of injecting atheism in schoolbooks.