People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
December 17, 2006
LDF Wins Thiruvambadi Seat
Giving a shot in the arm for the LDF government in Kerala, CPI(M) retained Thiruvambadi Assembly constituency in a closely contested electoral battle held on December 8. Toppling the Congress-led UDF’s expectations to wrest back its prestigious seat, the CPI(M) candidate George M Thomas defeated Indian Union Muslim League candidate V M Ummer by a margin of 246 votes. The bypoll was necessitated due to the demise of CPI(M) MLA Mathai Chacko.
The second debacle in a row faced by the Muslim League in a constituency which hitherto had been considered as the unshakable bastion of UDF and Muslim League, within a span of six months, marked a decisive landmark for the Left-Democratic movement in the state. In the state Assembly poll held in May, Mathai Chacko had defeated IUML candidate M C Mayin Haji by a margin of 5,479 votes. In the by-election which recorded the highest polling in the constituency (84.24 %) LDF got its highest ever number of votes- 64,112. BJP’s Gireesh Thevally finished third with mere 4,758 votes.
The people of Thiruvambadi went with LDF once again rejecting the propaganda of the UDF against the LDF government. The propaganda of the opposition in matters such as enactment of Kerala Professional Colleges Act and High Court-directed legal steps against one religious Divine Retreat Centre etc., were often blended with dirty communal venom. From the very beginning of the campaign, UDF tried to mislead the voters with misinformation about the LDF’s stand towards minorities in general and Christian religious heads in particular.
Unlike the previous UDF governments of the state, LDF and its leaders dared to declare that the poll result would be considered as a pointer of the government’s performance in the last six months. Its leaders and activists approached the voters with the list of achievements of the LDF government. Also, LDF put before the people the stances it has been adopting on international political issues including Saddam Hussain’s trial for their democratic scrutiny. The UDF, especially the IUML, which had never been sincere with any of these issues, were put on defensive during the campaign. In their futile attempt to get out of this mess, UDF often resorted to take out communal cards. The startling remarks made by Chandrika, the mouthpiece of the IUML, in its editorial reflected this. The Chandrika daily’s finding was that LDF candidate George Thomas could be a supporter of imperialism as he was a Christian. Such malicious attempts which were aimed at nothing but to communally divide Muslim and Christian voters however proved fatal to whatever prospects that had remained for UDF.
The election result also marked the logical outcome of the ongoing efforts of the CPI(M) to bridge the gap between the progressive movements and a dominant fragment of the minority communities. CPI(M) in its Kannur state conference had emphasised the need to bridge this gap and the party thereafter formulated many programmes to address various issues concerning them. In a broad context that evolved out of international developments as well as the anti-people policies adopted by Congress and BJP governments, a broad platform came into being for the Leftist forces and the people of minority communities to unite and struggle together. Minorities who hitherto had inflexibly kept themselves at a distance away from the Left, enthusiastically came forward to ally with the progressive movements. All elections that held thereafter provided obvious signs of such a shift among the Muslim and Christian population. In the last Assembly polls in May, Kerala witnessed the fall of many of the so called bastions of the communal and rightist forces, that too in a never-seen-before manner, including those in UDF strongholds such as Malappuram district.
The CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has pointed out that the poll results show that the Left Democratic Front is still ahead of the Opposition in the state. Pinarayi also pointed out that LDF victory would accelerate the devastation of UDF.
The chief minister V S Achuthanandan noted that it was a credible victory and termed it as the people’s recognition of the government’s performance in these six months. The LDF convenor Vykkom Vishwan greeted the voters of Thiruvambadi for making the ruling front victorious in spite of all baseless propaganda against the government.