Sabarimala row reason for Kerala LS polls poor show: CPI-M

Thiruvananthapuram: The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)mouthpiece ‘Deshabhimani’ on Wednesday said that the Sabarimala issue was one of the major reasons for the Left’s poor show in the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala.

The CPI-M, at its national review meeting in Delhi last week, acknowledged that the Sabarimala shrine controversy dented its chances in the polls.

This is in contrast with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assertions that the Sabarimala controversy did not affect the election results.

“If Sabarimala was a factor, the biggest beneficiary would have been the BJP. The BJP had hoped to win the Pathanamthitta seat, however its candidate came third,” Vijayan had said explaining the Left rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala saw its tally come down from eight to just one seat, as the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won 19 of the 20 seats in the Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier this month, the second biggest LDF ally, the Communist Party of India (CPI) blamed the Left’s poll debacle on Vijayan’s arrogance and the entry of two women activists in the Sabarimala shrine.

Some angry Left legislators admit in private that had Vijayan taken a more pragmatic approach, the results would have been different.

Party MLAs are also unhappy with Vijayan’s style of working. One Left legislator said they were not welcome into the Chief Minister’s office.

“We are told not come into his office. We could just walk into the office of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s office and he would give us a patient hearing even in midnight. Vijayan’s style of functioning appears to have been one of the reasons for the poll reversal, but no one is able to speak out,” said the legislator.