Kerala CPI(M)'s poll strategists' warm up to upcoming Lok Sabha polls
For Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it's going to be a make or break election, as he continues to be the biggest crowd puller and the decision-maker in the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front
Poll strategists in the Kerala unit of the CPI(M) have already completed their first round of planning, though the Lok Sabha polls are a year away.
For Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, it's going to be a make or break election, as he continues to be the biggest crowd puller and the decision-maker in the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front.
Vijayan will certainly get the credit if the Left improves upon its dismal tally at the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
But, thanks to Covid and the marketing of it, Vijayan pulled out a surprise by retaining an edge at the 2020 local body polls and the giant killing took place, when he retained power with a stunning win at the 2021 Assembly polls.
Even during the then election campaigns he had to face huge allegations in the gold smuggling case, but it did not affect him. But on the eve of his second anniversary of his second term, he was bombarded with numerous allegations with the Congress-led-UDF breathing down his neck. Hence, if he is unable to improve his party's performance, it could well be curtains for him.
Keeping this in mind, the poll strategists have started zeroing down on names and seats. One big shocker that's on the anvil is the CPI(M) is mulling taking over the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, hitherto contested by the CPI- the second biggest ally in the ruling Left.
Ever since Shashi Tharoor took over the seat for the Congress in 2009, the CPI's performance took a sound beating pushing it to third place in 2014 and 2019, with the BJP taking the runner up place.
Sources in the know of things revealed that the CPI will get another seat for giving up the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat.
And among the names that the CPI(M) have started to look into include the country's youngest Mayor- Arya Rajendran when she wrote into record books in 2020 and the other contenders include State Education Minister V.Sivankutty, who wrested the Nemom seat in the state capital city from the BJP at the 2021 Assembly election.
Yet another name is that of capital city resident and popular film actor Prem Kumar.
Kollam seat is another one which the CPI(M) has been wanting to win for long ever since N.K.Premachandran of the RSP whose party after switching to the Congress led UDF has completed a hat trick of wins and is desperate not Ato give him a fourth successive term.
Though they had zeroed down on youth woman leader Chintha Jerome, she ran into needless controversies on account of her over indulgence in social media. Now, the party is searching for other names and it includes film star-turned-legislator Mukesh.
The party is in two minds whether to field its only sitting Lok Sabha member A.M.Ariff in Alappuzha, as they fear his popularity is on the wane and doesn't figure in the good books of Vijayan.
The name of two-time former Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who was surprisingly left out from the list of candidates at the 2021 Assembly polls, is a possibility.
The Ernakulam Lok Sabha seat is another one which the CPI(M) has been badly losing out for a long, and all eyes are on if it would field former veteran Congress Union Minister K.V.Thomas - who was expelled from the party and is now a fellow traveller of Vijayan.
He had represented this constituency for a record 22 years as a Congressman and the only factor going against him would be his advanced age (76).
Another seat which the CPI(M) would like to regain is Kannur- the biggest bastion of the party and the popular TV news anchor and senior journalist M.V.Nikesh Kumar, who lost the 2016 Assembly polls from the district, has started taking the rounds.
A political commentator on condition of anonymity said for both the CPI(M) and Vijayan the election is crucial.
"For the party, their performance was dismal nationally in 2019 and if a repeat happens, then it could well be curtains for them as Kerala is the last hope for them, as they are wiped out from West Bengal and Tripura. Likewise for Vijayan, in 2019 even though the party won just one seat, none blamed Vijayan, but this time with the opposition breathing down his neck with never before allegations against him, the results could well be more crucial for him than the party," said the political expert.