APN News

  • Tuesday, January, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 12:34:59
  • Though the Congress- led United Democratic Front (UDF) could win the just concluded State Assembly Polls in Kerala by a whisker former chief minister of the Left Front government V S Achutanandan has emerged the star of the ballot. He could successfully take the wind out of the UDF sail and the impressive show of the left front catapulted the octogenarian communist patriarch to a new high both within the CPM and the Left Front politics.

    The results show that VS could sway majority of the apolitical electorates in favour of the Left Front for he had almost acquired an iconic status.  His constant campaign against socially significant issues like corruption and tough stand against communalism won him the hearts of many politically neutral voters.  Popularity of VS was on the surge ever since he publicly declared that the corrupt and criminals will find their place in “central jails” and those involved in atrocities against women will be  “handcuffed and paraded in public.” The generally dull VS emerged as the biggest crowd puller during the election campaign rallies.  His rustic style was much appreciated by the common mass and exit poll surveys showed  VS as the most popular choice as the CM.

    Minus the VS factor the CPM-led Left Front in Kerala would have been miserably trounced in the husting.  In the tough electoral battle the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) escaped by a hair’s- breadth with 72 seats against 68 of bagged by the LDF.  The swing of the minority votes in favour of the UDF made all the difference.  Out of the 72 UDF candidates who won the election 45 are from the minority segment.  Only 16 candidates belonging to the minority community could win on LDF ticket.  Out of the 24 candidates contested under the banner of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) 20 won their seats with emphatic margin and emerged as the second largest party in the UDF, next to the Congress with 38.

    Though the Congress –led combine could form the government CPM emerged the largest single party by winning 47 of the 93 seats it contested.  The credit of the gain goes to the party patriarch alone. The CPM chief Prakash Karat has acknowledged the VS factor. Talking to the media after the poll out Karat said “VS was able to bring the people closer to the Front.”  To specific question on the popularity of VS he said “there is nothing wrong in printing posters with VS pictures during electioneering. His picture was used as he was popular among the public.”

    But the very same party leadership tried to cut VS to size on every available opportunity, till a few months back.  They tried to deny him a ticket in the assembly polls, but gauging the public mood was forced to revise the decision. VS were asked to lead the Left’s campaign.   His detractors were opposed to this decision, but Achuthanandan led the Left juggernaut   which pushed the Congress and its allies into the defensive. VS campaign technique had taken the sheen out the UDF arsenal and they could match with the VS charisma at any point of time during the campaign.

    Even his arch rivals agree many issues that dominated the election had the VS imprint.  He relentlessly fought the Idamalayar corruption case against former power minister R Balakrishna Pillai for 20 years, that finally led to his conviction by the Supreme Court. Unlike the UDF expected, there was no sympathy for Pillai in his fiefdom of Kottarakara, where CPM candidate won with an overwhelming majority of over 20000 votes.

    Achuthanandan is a born fighter, but  not a suave administrator.  Even at the age of 87 VS has no fears to defy the dictates of the party and remains suspended from the CPM politburo.  These are his qualities which make him the mass leader. It was not the party but VS who won a decent total for the LDF making anti-incumbancy almost irrelevant, and nearly reversing the trend of no government getting re-elected in past three decades.   Even his opponents accept VS is the real winner.