Sabarimala issue led to poll debacle: Report

Voices concern over erosion of CPI(M) vote base even in traditional strongholds

The entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple in the wake of the government- sponsored women’s wall programme provided an opportunity for the UDF and BJP to utilise the Sabarimala issue for electoral gain and contributed to the debacle of the CPI(M) in Kerala, according to an analysis of the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

The review report adopted by the CPI(M) central committee said the failure of the party to understand the mood of the people was a matter of serious concern and urged the State committee to rectify the mistakes and shortcomings.

Likening the electoral setback to the situation in 1977 after the Emergency when the CPI(M) had drawn a blank in Kerala, the document said the UDF had succeeded in garnering the votes of secular and democratic-minded sections and minorities, especially Muslim and Christian voters, who did not want the BJP to return to power. The decision to field Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad had added to the appeal of the campaign by the UDF to form a secular government at the Centre.

The report published on the party’s website expresses concern over the erosion of the CPI(M) vote base even in traditional strongholds and the failure of the party’s campaign to convince the electorate about the need to the strengthen the presence of the Left in Parliament.

Defending the decision of the party and the LDF government to support the Supreme Court verdict allowing the entry of women to the Sabarimala temple, it said the UDF and BJP had managed to wean away a section of traditional CPI(M) supporters through a virulent campaign. Those alienated from us voted for the Congress or the BJP in varied ways in different constituencies.

The UDF and BJP could also make use of some incidents of political violence to tarnish the CPI(M), the document said, urging the State committee to ensure that opponents were not provided with such opportunities.

Pointing out that the BJP, despite transferring a portion of its votes to the UDF to ensure the defeat of the CPI(M), could get a vote share of 15.56%, the report called for patient and concerted political, ideological and organisational work to contain the growth of the BJP in the State.

The document called upon the State unit to examine why the hard work of the party and the good performance of the LDF government had not translated into electoral support.

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