Writing on the wall for the communists Sunday, May 17 2009 

writingonwallThe communists will have to reinvent themselves if they were to survive. The mixing of ideology and democratic centralism with real politik, corruption and business is not going to work. But its is doubtful whether the Lok Sabha election results would be an eye-opener for a party ridden with factionalism and   an increased aptitude for materialistic possessions.

While professing secularism, the communists had been responsible for propping up the Muslim League and even the Bharatiya Janata Party. Now, its effort to fight the League with virulent form of communalism has backfired. Will the party learn its lessons? (One of the false arguments raised by the CPI(M) men were that the PDP was being reformed. However, now having failed in attempts to gain legitimacy, the PDF is likely to go back into more extremist ways.)

Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan has already disowned responsibility for the debacle in Kerala. The fact remains that the Government had failed to carry out its election promises during the past three years. Yet, Mr. Achuthanandan would say that this was because of his party and front constituents. But people have noted that staying in the Chief Minister’s gaddy was more important to him than asserting things beyond mere rhetoric.

The fight between Pinarayi and Achuthanandan is to continue and both will try to stick to their positions. However, the people are not going to pardon them in the coming by-elections– to the three Assembly seats to be vacated by the newly elected Members, too if they don’t pave way for improvement of the functioning of the Government. But that would happen only after a churning in the Left Front. The main JD (S) faction is set to leave the Front. The CPI will have to consider its options. The Church has told the Kerala Congress (Joseph) that it would not have its support as long as it is with the Left Front.

Democratic conventions demand that the party leader who led the party to a major debacle should quit. A Chief Minister who has lost support of most of his party members (which amounts to losing majority in the Assembly) too should quit, especially because the people’s mandate for the Government is now in doubt. However, our leaders are not democratic or gracious enough to do that. Others would have to push them out! And that is easily said than done!

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Major upheaval in LDF likely Monday, Apr 27 2009 

AKG Centre, Trivandrum

AKG Centre, Trivandrum

A major upheaval is likely in the LDF if the Lok Sabha election results go heavily against the Front.

Depending on the gravity of voters’ verdict, it could even lead to disintegration of the Front. Half of the Janata Dal is already out of the Front. The contours of the split would be decided by the gravity of the verdict.

The CPI may find it untenable to continue in the Front if it loses all the four seats it contested. Some of the Cabinet Ministers are already in the winding up mode, foreseeing a Cabinet reshuffle.

The CPI (M) is going to see the bitterest of the wrangles. While one group would want Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan to quit, some others may want the party secretariat members to return to their organisational jobs and build the party for the next elections. State secretary Pinarai Vijayan is not easily going to give up control of the party  even in the face of a serious upset.

Elections 2009: Political parties and their manifestos Wednesday, Apr 1 2009 

congess_manifestoThe political parties are once again out with their manifestos. However, people have little faith in their promises.  Their experience has told them that most of the promises are never going to be fulfilled.  Yet it would be interesting to look at them.

What the Dravida parties started is now becoming the trend at the national level. They had promised items like television which is not far removed from paying cash to the voters. Then everybody was promising rice at lower prices. This itself cannot be considered as a wrong measure as  many  had been hit by the recent  policies. However, it is an ad hoc measures in lieu of concrete steps to improve the lot of farmers, artisans and others by providing them market  and employment.

http://www.bjp.org/images/pdf/election_manifesto_english.pdfThe Congress is promising subsidised food scheme for the poor, interest relief to farmers, job guarantees and the like. It says that it would not follow blind privatisation. It will allow foreign investments in mining.  It will ensure energy security and intensify involvement of overseas Indians in development.

The BJP has promises laptops and broad band connections. It has also come out with its manifesto promising grains at lower prices, assured income to farmers, reservation for women and the like. For the corporates, there would be good news in the form of lower taxes and interest rates, though that is not explicitly stated.

Despite all the promises, it appears that whether it is the BJP or the Congress, they would continue to cater to the upper and middle classes, ignoring the victims of their policies as long as they can.

(Updated on April 4, 2009)

Without comment, the blue elephant Wednesday, Mar 25 2009 

Campaign poster of Neelalohitadasan NadarCampaign graffiti of  Neelalohitadasan Nadar in Thiruvananthapuram constituency, Kerala.  (Neela in Malayalam means blue). Dr. Nadar, a former Minister, was acquitted in the Nalini Netto molestation case recently. Mrs. Netto, who raised the allegation against Dr. Nadar,  is now the Chief Electoral Officer in the State.

Sparring between CPI(M) and CPI is a storm in a tea cup Thursday, Mar 5 2009 

CPI State Secretary Veliyam Bhargavan

CPI State Secretary Veliyam Bhargavan

The sparring between the CPI and the CPI (M) over the Ponnani Lok Sabha seat will end up as a storm in a tea cup. The spat between party CPI (M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and CPI State secretary Veliyam Bhargavan is intended to hoodwink the voters.

True that some CPI leaders are not comfortable with the PDP’s virtual membership in the LDF. While CPI (M) is no more ashamed of alliance with PAP leader Abdul Nasir Maudhani, whom the BJP describe as the father of religious fundamentalism in Kerala, the CPI don’t want to appear to be too close to PDP.

However, it is notable that the CPI’s minimum demand is that the independent candidate proposed for Ponnani need not contest on party symbol, but should become part of CPI Parliamentary party on victory and be subject to party’s whip. This is not an issue over which the two parties would part ways. Both know that victory in Ponnani is a remote possibility and there is little point in quarreling over whether the winner would be in the CPI Parliamentary party.

CPI’s real grouse is that the Hussein Randathani, proposed by the CPI (M) and PDP, had refused to play ball with the CPI as independent candidate fielded by the CPI. He would become acceptable to CPI if he makes some amends.