People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 17

April 23, 2006

‘UDF Failures Paving Way For LDF Victory’

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and leader of opposition V S Achutanandan addressing an election rally


CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury has been extensively participating in the ongoing assembly elections campaign of the Party. On his return to New Delhi from a tour covering the states of Assam, Tamilnadu and Kerala, INN spoke to him about the trends in these elections, particularly relating to Kerala.


Below are the excerpts of the interview.

How do you rate the chances of the LDF in Kerala?


It is clear that the LDF is moving towards a big victory. Many factors are contributing to this, chief among which is the numerous failures of the UDF government in the last five years. Not only has it failed in improving the welfare of the people but also made their situation worse in many places. It adopted a very authoritative attitude unleashing severe repression against popular struggles. All this has contributed to the growing discontentment among the people. The severe infighting in the Congress has tarnished the image of the leader of the UDF alliance. It has been proved that Congress is a party of opportunists and career seekers rather than a party capable of delivering good governance. Apart from this the LDF and coalition leader CPI(M) has gained a lot of goodwill among the people for its role as leader of the opposition. All these are contributing for a decisive victory of the LDF.


Is there any increase in the mass appeal of the LDF ?


Definitely. As a result of these developments, many sections have voluntarily and unilaterally declared their support to the LDF. This happened even while the LDF, particularly the CPI(M), consciously and scrupulously refrained from making any appeal to any specific organisation or section of people represented by such organizations. The declaration of firm support to the LDF by these organisations indicates the degree of discontentment with the UDF and prevalence of a sense of betrayal of the promises made by UDF to garner the support of these sections in the past.


The ruling combine is claiming that the LDF's inability to propose a chief ministerial candidate exposes its disunity?


Such a charge is ridiculous, that too coming from the Congress-led UDF. In the 2004 parliamentary elections, the Congress had projected Sonia Gandhi as its prime ministerial candidate. The country ended up with Dr Manmohan Singh as the prime minister. In the last election in Kerala, Congress had projected A K Antony as their chief minister. Now they are facing the electorate with Oomen Chandy as the chief minister.


More fundamentally, except in the situation where the incumbent CM is in the contest, the CPI(M) has never declared its chief ministerial candidate in advance. This is because in a democracy, the people are supreme. Suppose A or B is declared as a CM candidate and the people defeat that candidate in that particular constituency then everybody has to respect the verdict. The CM is chosen from the elected representatives of the people. Respecting the people’s sovereignty in a democracy, the CPI(M) decides on its CM only after the elections, unlike the Congress. 


The Congress in Kerala is charging the CPI(M) of being an anti-development party where as it is pro-development in West Bengal. What is your answer to this charge?


I can only say that it is yet another ridiculous charge from the Congress. The CPI(M), whether in Bengal or in Kerala or in Delhi, takes the same position on all issues connected with the economic development and attitude towards the state governments. The 18th congress of the Party has adopted a clear-cut approach on the question of development. The CPI(M) differs fundamentally from the Congress’ perception of development. Being a party of ruling classes, the Congress’ concept of development is aimed at maximising profits at the expense of imposing greater burdens on people while the CPI(M)'s concept seeks to improve the living conditions of vast majority of the people. Hence this talk of the Congress about CPI(M) being an anti-development party is another attempt to mask its anti-people and pro-rich class approach.


As far as Kerala is concerned the foundations for its extraordinary performance in the fields of literacy, gender equality and other human development indices were only laid by the successive LDF governments starting from EMS Namboodiripad government in 1957 upto the E K Nayanar government between 1996-2001. If today's Kerala is on the threshold of a new level of development, it is only the Left that has to be given the credit. And it is only the Left that has a vision to carry forward this further, making use of Kerala’s high level of literacy to the fullest advantage in the new areas like IT and ITES.


What do you have to say on the UDF comment on opinion polls?


The CPI(M) has never paid any attention to the results of opinion polls. The Party relies only on the response it receives from its cadre and people. Having said this, we find it strange that the Congress is so abusive of opinion polls that suggest LDF victory. We may differ on numbers, but the trend is unmistakably clear. Victory for Left is sure.


The Congress criticising the opinion polls is also strange because it is the same party and alliance which argued in favor of these surveys when they predicted two-thirds majority for the UDF in the last elections. Then the Congress had hailed it as being scientific and today they are terming the same surveys as unscientific.


Will there be any surprises from the LDF this time?


Definitely. There are going to be many surprises in the LDF win. New giant killers may also emerge out of this battle. One likely such candidate is the SFI state president who is locked in a battle with the chief minister Oomen Chandy.