People's Democracy

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


No. 16

April  17, 2011


Big Guns of UDF Fail to Draw Crowds

N S Sajith

CONGRESS president Sonia Gandhi’s campaign in Kerala ended up as a low key affair. Low turn out of Congress workers and little enthusiasm they showed put the Congress leadership in deep worry. Taking serious note of this poor show, the Congress high command has sought  an explanation from the Kerala PCC. As if this was not enough of an embarrassment, Sonia Gandhi at the end of her speech in the public meeting Harippad in Alappuzha district, in a disastrous slip of tongue, appealed to the voters to cast their votes in favour of the LDF! She used the word LDF two times instead of UDF. She also said that the centre would introduce better projects to change Kerala if ‘LDF’ is voted to power.


Even though Congress misused the money power, it was not be able to mobilise the workers in respectable numbers. She had addressed the meetings at Harippad, Thrissur and Kozhikode. All three meetings were attended by few thousand people who seemed unenthused by the Sonia’s speech. The news channels and news papers that support Congress were keen not to show or publish the visuals and photographs of the audience who attended Sonia’s public meeting. Even Congress’ official organ Veeksham did not publish even a single photograph of the audience. The news stories in 'mainstream' newspapers like Malayala Manorama and Mathrubhumi were mainly concentrated on the biryani and prawn fry eaten by Sonia Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi's Thrissur meeting was the least attended one. The organisers claimed that 25 thousand people would attend the public meeting. Their endeavour to mobilise the people by hired vehicles from 13 assembly constituencies ended in mobilising only less than ten thousand people in the famous Thekkinkad ground adjacent to the historical Vadakkunnatha temple in Thrissur, the city considered to be a strong hold of Congress. The people sat passively when Sonia reached. People protested when they were denied the drinking water, due the the stringent security measures of the SPG.




After Congress president Sonia Gandhi's flop meetings in Kerala, it was the turn of prime minister Manmohan Singh and AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi to be acutely embarrassed. Their public meetings were very poorly attended leading to serious concerns in the UDF camp.


Prime minister had an UDF election campaign meeting today in Kottayam, a city considered to be a stronghold of Congress. The organisers arranged 2000 chairs in Nehru stadium but half of the chairs were unoccupied. (see photo) The organisers in desperation made announcements from the dais asking workers standing around the dais to go and occupy the chairs. So panicked they were that they announced in the mike “If we do not fill the chairs, Deshabhimani will carry pictures of empty chairs. Please come and sit”. The organisers also requested the security personnel to let the people in without any frisking, a request that was of course not heeded by the SPG.


Rahul Gandhi addressed meetings in Kochi, Ambalapuzha, Pathanamthitta and Chalakudy. In all these meetings, the crowds were sparse. In Kochi, only 400 people, including police in plainclothes, attended. The leaders were seen blaming each other for the fiasco. In Pathanamthitta, only 1400 chairs were arranged for his meeting. When Rahul visited the same area in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, there was a huge gathering of people to listen to him. In Chalakudy, only 3000 chairs were arranged and half of them were unoccupied.