Rahul Gandhi need not expect a quid pro quo from us, says M.A. Baby

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CPI(M) Polit Bureau member says pre-poll surveys can go wrong since people are afraid of speaking the truth

The campaign video released by Congress candidate K. Sudhakaran (Kannur) allegedly denigrating women is reminiscent of the hardcore Hindutva ideology he professes in contrary to Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s claims on women empowerment through quota in legislative bodies and government jobs. Mr. Gandhi should clarify whether he subscribes to the Sangh Parivar’s misogynistic agenda being propagated by Mr. Sudhakaran, says CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby.

Will the Left Democratic Front take up the issue?

Yes. The video has confirmed rumours about Mr. Sudhakaran drifting towards the Bharatiya Janata Party. We deem it as a natural continuum of the Hindutva agenda being pursued by the Congress and the BJP, especially in North India. Remember Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath imprisoning four Muslim youth on the guise of cow protection by invoking the National Security Act.

Are the Congress, the BJP, and the Indian Union Muslim League in alliance in Kerala?

The tacit, partial, and regional alliance in 1991 has become a pan-Kerala phenomenon in 2019. It is reminiscent of K. Karunakaran’s demand to withdraw the late B. Vijayakumar from the fray in favour of a BJP candidate in Thiruvananthapuram.

His refusal had triggered a storm in the Congress. But such deals struck between the BJP and the Congress for electoral gains lacked the potential to browbeat the Left.

Mr. Gandhi has clarified that he will not target the CPI(M)

It stemmed out of sheer necessity. The CPI(M) does not yearn for his magnanimity. He lacks the grit to sermonise on democracy and constitutional morality. His grandmother, the late Indira Gandhi, is guilty of subverting the Constitution and declaring Emergency. We were in the forefront of fighting communalism and religious extremism. Moreover, Mr. Gandhi need not expect a quid pro quo from us.

How do you rate the LDF prospects?

I feel that the prospects are very high when compared to the previous election.

The development initiatives taken up by incumbents such as P.K. Sreemathy for about ₹2,150 crore, Joice George in Idukki for ₹4,750 crore, in addition to the ₹5,000-crore Idukki package announced by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac would augur well for the LDF. The dissensions within the Kerala Congress (M) and its differences with the Congress need to be seriously watched.

Will National Democratic Alliance candidate P.C. Thomas queer the pitch for the LDF in Kottayam?

No. Mr. Thomas had been banking on the legacy of his father P.T. Chacko, but his image has taken a beating because of his shifting political loyalties.

Even if he wins votes, it would only erode the UDF vote base. We will not be affected at all.

Does the pre-poll surveys scare the LDF?

No. It is often a mixed bag. But for psephologists like Prannoy Roy, who made near-perfect predictions, most others go awry.

The best instance is the prediction before the last Assembly elections which went against the LDF. Narendra Modi has created a republic of fear and Prannoy Roy mentions voter suppression in his book that decodes Indian elections. People are scared of speaking the truth. This is one reason why predictions go wrong.

Your response to predictions that the Left will be decimated

Think of an India devoid of the Left. We are not confined to legislative business alone. The peasants’ long march that poignantly etched agrarian woes was the outcome of our incessant struggles. We will doggedly pursue it and enhance our presence in Parliament.

What will be the role of the Left post-election?

We will act as a catalyst for installing a secular government in line with the CPI(M) party congress decision.

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