CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran says factional feuding is the engine that powers Congress. The current bout of bitter infighting in the party is nothing new.
Indeed, it is the norm and should not surprise anybody. Former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran had famously said, “If there are three groups in the Congress, 30 persons will turn up. A unified Congress can expect none.”
Mr. Rajendran spoke to The Hindu on Tuesday about the Assembly election campaign and the forces that could shape the result.
Congress had given outsize importance to the electoral battle in the Nemom constituency to show that the UDF is seriously opposed to the BJP. In actuality, the BJP and Congress are in cahoots in Kerala.
The ideological line between Congress and BJP is very thin. Congress tows a soft Hindutva tack. Its economic agenda is congruent to that of the BJP.
“If K. Muralidheeran garners the majority of Congress’s votes that gravitated towards the BJP in 2016 in Nemom, then the LDF would coast to victory in the constituency,” he said.
Sabarimala is a non-issue now. The SC is reviewing seven questions related to its majority decision in 2018 to allow women of all age groups to worship at the Ayyappa temple. It had set aside the NSS prayer for not allowing women between the ages of 10 years and 50 years into the temple. The NSS should honour the SC verdict instead of blaming the government.
Mr. Rajendran said the LDF’s decisive victory in the LSGI elections had demonstrated that livelihood issues and development aspirations mattered most to the electorate.
The LDF had expanded the State’s social welfare net. Welfare pensions, free rations and charge-free modern medical care buoyed the low-income families laid low by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An LDF win would also be a strong political message against the Centre’s infringement on federalism and its bid to cripple non-BJP ruled States economically and politically.
Such an eventuality could also pave the way for a secular and more federal alternative to the BJP at the Centre.