Heat on UDF as VS returns
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Heat on UDF as VS returns

The UDF has redrawn its strategy and campaign themes to foil the opposition challenge.

india Updated: Mar 27, 2006 18:57 IST

The dramatic return of CPI(M) stalwart VS Achuthanandan as the central figure of the LDF's battle in the coming Kerala Assembly polls has turned the heat on the Congress-led UDF.

The UDF has redrawn its strategy and campaign themes to foil the opposition challenge.

The recent move of the CPI(M) central leadership to bring back Achuthanandan as the LDF's pivot by prevailing upon the faction-ridden state unit, which had earlier dumped the veteran, has shattered the hopes of the UDF to exploit the internecine feud in the Left camp.

It could be a coincidence that on the very same day that the CPI(M) 're-opened and re-considered' the Achuthanandan issue, the Congress initialled its pact with DIC(K) led by K Karunakaran.

While the surprise turn of events in the CPI(M) has energised the LDF rank and file across the state, the Congress-DIC(K) pact triggered rumblings in both the parties.

The UDF was planning to raise Achuthanandan's absence itself as a campaign theme suggesting that the 83-year old veteran was sacrificed to secure the selfish interests of a powerful group in the CPI(M) leadership controlled by state Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

The ruling front was also entertaining the hope that it could cash in on the backlash caused by "marginalisation" of Achuthanandan.
Many in the Left camp believe that if the CPI (M) central leadership had failed to intervene in Kerala, it would have become yet another "historic blunder".

Party General Secretary Prakash Karat had made it very clear that the politburo had taken into account widespread protests within and outside the party over the omission of Achuthanandan.

Shortly after bouncing back to the centre stage, Achuthanandan had said he would turn the election campaign as the final battle against the UDF rule whose policies and programmes he had unsparingly attacked in the last five years as the Leader of the Opposition.

A born fighter and merciless crusader against corruption, Achuthanandan had been able to win the support of large sections outside the periphery of party politics by campaigning for a variety of public causes ranging from environmental degradation to violation of womens' rights.

In the changed scenario, the UDF would mainly be seeking to dub Achuthanandan as an "old school Marxist" who would prove an obstacle for the fast-paced development of the state.

Right from the start, the UDF leaders knew that it would a be tough task to beat the anti-incumbency factor playing heavily against it. It was this awareness that forced the coalition to forge ties with the DIC (K), despite a strong reservation from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

First Published: Mar 26, 2006 15:20 IST