» Election » Karat-Tharoor 'ties' make CPI see red in Kerala

Karat-Tharoor 'ties' make CPI see red in Kerala

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
May 18, 2009 14:16 IST
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In the Left Democratic Front's shocking electoral debacle in Kerala, what stands out is the Thiruvananthapuram constituency where the Communist Party of India's non-controversial candidate Ramachandran Nair, who has a clean public image throughout the almost four decades he has been in public life, suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Congress debutant Shashi Tharoor.

It is not Dr Tharoor's flamboyant personality that is in focus so much as the Communist Party of India-Marxist's alleged games in ensuring Nair's defeat. Barring the CPI-M's four seats, the LDF drew a blank in the southern state.

A senior Congress leader in New Delhi alleged that LDF leaders in Kerala do not know that Dr Tharoor is a friend of CPI-M General Secretary Prakash Karat and his wife Brinda, a member of the party's powerful Politburo.

According to the source, Prakash Karat, for reasons unknown, avoided campaigning in Dr Tharoor's constituency.

Though he visited Thiruvananthapuram, he did not make any speech supporting Nair. Brinda Karat, who toured Kerala extensively, also stayed away from the state capital.

What incensed CPI cadres is that no sooner did Prakash Karat leave Thiruvananthapuram almost on the eve of polling day, April 16, CPI-M leader P Govinda Pillai, who is said to be close to the party boss, received Dr Tharoor at his home.

Not only did Pillai gave Dr Tharoor an appointment, he permitted a leading Malayalam television channel to televise the former UN diplomat touching his feet and asking for blessings.

CPI-M cadres were supposed to decipher Pillai's blessing Dr Tharoor as an unspoken message about how they were expected to view the Congress nominee's candidacy.

CPI workers in Thiruvananthapuram are furious that the CPI-M scuttled Nair's election, which may account for Dr Tharoor's victory margin of almost 100,000 votes. The winner is reported to have admitted that this was way beyond his own estimation.

The CPI-M's LDF allies see this as a by-now-familiar ploy on the bigger party's part. They anticipate that when the next general election comes along, the CPI-M will demand that Thiruvananthapuram be allotted to it as the CPI could not win it this time.

This was how the CPI-M eased the Revolutionairy Socialist Party out of the Kollam seat, that party's stronghold.

RSP cadres paid back the CPI-M in its own coin by ensuring the Marxist candidate's defeat in the recent election.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi