CPI(M) bid to outpace scandals ahead of polls

Kodiyeri’s ‘leave’ denies Oppn. initiative in poll battle

G. Anand

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has attempted to outpace the scandals that seemed to have dogged it at every step since the UAE consulate-linked gold smuggling case appeared above the political horizon in August.

The party seemed to radiate confidence that it had ceased to be a magnet for salacious scandals unleashed by the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) given the recent change at its helm.

By one account, the CPI(M) felt that State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had, at a stroke, denied the Opposition the initiative in the electoral battle and rendered the party less of a target for slander by going on leave for medical treatment.

The party believed it was better poised to break out of the “smokescreen of lies” laid down by the Opposition and coast to victory in the local body polls on the strength of its accomplishments.

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac told The Hindu that there were two forces at play in the “battle for the minds” of the people. The strategy of the Congress and the BJP to create an environment of suspicion against the government had double-edged consequences.

For one, they had attacked Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB)without offering the people a credible alternative to mobilise funds for development. The vilification campaign might confuse voters temporarily. But, people have experienced the tangible benefits of the development.

“Development works estimated at ₹50,000 crore are on a roll. The change is perceptible in every panchayat and municipality. The people see no dividend in denying the LDF a second term. They would reject the smear campaign,” he said.

The Congress and the BJP have harped on about the moral degeneration in the CPI(M) leadership and government to woo voters.

BJP State president K. Surendran said corruption scandals had swamped the government and the voters were fired-up to punish the LDF by throwing their lot with the NDA.

UDF leader C.P. John said welfare pension, food kits, free rations and development claims would not alone help the CPI(M) pull off a victory. The party leadership had mislaid its moral compass.

Its cadres wanted the party to fail in the hope it would change for the better. The CPI(M) best not forget that it won the 2016 elections by seizing the high moral ground. “That place has now fallen into the hands of the UDF,” he said.

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