State Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran. (Photo: HT)
State Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran. (Photo: HT)

In Kerala, Congress and CPM tap on mutual strengths to take on BJP in Lok Sabha polls

  • Both parties have asked their cadres to help consolidate votes for either of the 2 parties in key constituencies
  • Despite being adversaries, Kerala’s ruling Communists and the principal opposition Congress are warming up to each other

ERNAKULAM : Anukoola Sahacharyam (a favourable situation)" seems to be the buzzword in a handful of pockets in Kerala, where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could significantly improve its vote share. For the Congress and the Left, it translates into asking their respective party cadres to help consolidate votes tactically for either of the two parties in some key constituencies—to keep the BJP from winning its first ever Lok Sabha seat in the state.

For instance, Mavelikkara in Alappuzha district is a reserved constituency, from where Congress working president and MP Kodikunnil Suresh is expected to seek a third term. But he faces considerable incumbency. A state Congress leader, requesting anonymity, said that Suresh is hoping that the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) coalition will not field Punnala Sreekumar, a Dalit leader of the Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS), who could give him a tough fight. More so, as the BJP’s ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), a lower caste outfit, is going all out to try and improve its vote share.

“Both parties are talking about a favourable situation in Delhi. LDF leaders understand that in order to defeat the BJP, the Congress has to come to power in Delhi with a strong number," the Congress leader added. Suresh could not be immediately reached for comment.

“We will contest seats to win, but in some pockets, there will be mutual understanding. We have been saying both within and outside the coalition that the main enemy is the BJP and its fascism. But all said and done, in Kerala, the main fight is still between the UDF (Congress-led United Democratic Front) and the LDF," said a Communist Party of India (CPI) leader, also requesting anonymity.

Despite being adversaries, Kerala’s ruling Communists and the principal opposition Congress are warming up to each other ahead of the polls to take on their common enemy nationally.

On Sunday, Kerala Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran told a public rally that the party’s state unit was ready for an alliance with the CPM. “If CPM is ready to shed its politics of violence and Stalinist thoughts, Congress is ready for an open discussion to form a secular democratic front to fight fascism," Ramachandran said. However, his comments did not go down well with his own party members, as well as some CPM leaders. K. Muraleedharan, former party president and son of former CM K. Karunakaran, said: “The Congress could do well without the help of the CPM."

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