I.N.D.I.A. alliance partners Congress and CPM fight for an assembly seat in Kerala

I.N.D.I.A. alliance partners Congress and CPM fight for an assembly seat in Kerala


While the I.N.D.I.A. alliance including the Congress party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday passed a resolution to fight the upcoming general elections slated for May 2024 ‘together’ although only ‘as far as possible’, the two parties are at loggerheads in Kerala for the Puthupally assembly seat. The Puthupally seat was represented by Congress veteran Oommen Chandy for the last 53 years encompassing 12 terms. However, the constituency is set to witness bypolls on September 5 after the demise of Chandy in July this year.

The Congress and CPI(M)’s friendship at the I.N.D.I.A. Mumbai summit is an extended distance, with the two parties being the primary contenders in the bypoll. Congress party has nominated Chandy’s son, Youth Congress leader Chandy Oommen, as its candidate, while the CPI(M) has nominated Jaick C Thomas, a central committee member of the party’s youth wing, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI).

On Saturday (September 2), CPM State Secretary MV Govindan said that the confidence of the United Democratic Front (UDF) to secure an easy win has ended. Govindan asserted that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has the chance to bring change and end Congress domination from the Puthupally constituency.

“The Congress campaigned on emotional appeal, whereas the LDF campaigned on development. It worked to our advantage. People will vote for us to ensure our success,” Govindan said disregarding the survey results as politically motivated exercises. He also blasted Congress for failing to criticise the BJP during the campaign.

The ruling CPM is pushing the narrative of development centred around the assertion that Puthuppally has been denied the development that the rest of Kerala has witnessed. CM Pinarayi Vijayan himself has been campaigning for Jaick C Thomas in what is being seen as a battle of prestige. CM Vijayan on Wednesday this week listed out the “achievements” of his party during a public meeting in Puthapally.

Notably, CPM candidate Jaick Thomas has been fielded again as he also fought two elections from the Assembly seat, in 2016 and 2021. Although he lost both elections to Oommen Chandy, he finished barely 10,000 votes behind the Congress veteran in 2021, giving Chandy his narrowest victory margin in three decades. 

Going by the local media reports it appears that CPM has already conceded defeat against the Congress candidate who is riding on the legacy of his father as the Communist party has claimed that the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Congress may have struck a “secret deal” to defeat CPM’s Jaick C Thomas.

While the CPM and Congress want to demonstrate “Hum Saath Saath Hain” at the national level, the two parties with a history of ideological conflict are demonstrating “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun?” at the state level. This demonstrates that, while the anti-Modi parties are united in their mission to “overthrow” the Modi regime in the next Lok Sabha elections, they lack actual backing for one another, which explains why the Friday resolution included the caveat, “as far as possible.”


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