Kanam faces ‘criticism’ for comment on national leadership

CPI election review report flags campaign flaws

Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary Kanam Rajendran reportedly faced inner-party dissension for purportedly criticising general secretary D. Raja in his public comments.

Mr. Raja had appeared to second CPI leader Annie Raja’s controversial statement that the Kerala Police were patently misogynist and controlled by an “RSS gang”. The Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party had interpreted the remark as a direct attack on Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who held the Home portfolio.

Pressed about the matter last week, Mr. Rajendran pointed to the party mandate that national leaders should not comment on regional issues without keeping the State leadership in the loop. He also stated that party code applied to all members equally.

The incident triggered speculation that CPI veteran K.E. Ismail had taken strong exception to Mr. Rajendran’s words and complained to the national leadership. Mr. Rajendran rejected the media speculation as mere conjecture.

The CPI also critically examined its Assembly election campaign and flagged several flaws for future rectification.

The campaign machinery failed the party in Idukki. The CPI’s campaign involving national leaders lacked lustre due to poor organisation.

The CPI’s term limitation for MLAs saw several former legislators staying off the campaign trail. The vacuum was pronounced in Nattika, Mannarkkad and Peerumade.

The CPI failed to resolve issues of hill farmers with local revenue and forest officials, prompting many Left Democratic Front (LDF) votes to gravitate to the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The CPI review report also reportedly repudiated the Communist Party of India (Marxist) assessment that the Kerala Congress (M) inclusion had electorally benefited the LDF. The KC(M) defection to the LDF had weakened the UDF. But, it did not cause any increase in the LDF’s vote share.

Moreover, a sizeable section of LDF workers could not reconcile with Mr. Mani’s inclusion in the LDF and sided with Mani C. Kappan. The CPI also purportedly concluded that Congress candidate in Kundara, P.C. Vishnunath, endeared more to voters than his LDF rival and CPI(M) leader J. Mercykutty.

The party also flagged extensive scale erosion of LDF votes in Kottarakara, despite Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal’s win from the constituency. The CPI had reviewed the report over the past week.

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