Kerala parties in a plight of ‘painful’ joy

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala parties are in a real predicament. They have all the reasons to celebrate; yet a lurking pain in the heart is holding back their spirits. The Modi tsunami, which saw the Opposition fortresses crumble in most parts of the country, should have elated the state’s BJP leaders. For, its sweep and destructive power have been much greater than anyone could have been imagined. But the BJP in Kerala is in no mood to celebrate because it feels like it has lost paradise in God’s Own Country.

In spite of everything going in its favour to make a big dent into the state’s politics, thanks to the Sabarimala issue, the party could not even open account in the poll. The disappointment is too hurtful to be disguised. The predicament of Congress leaders is even worse. The 19-1 victory notched up by their United Democratic Front (UDF) is unmatched in the coalition’s history. The result exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. It has been the kind of stuff possible only in the wildest dreams.

Yet Congressmen are unable to get into a frame of mind for celebration. Their joy has been spoiled by the sting of failure: like winning the battle and losing the war. Their party has been reduced and restricted to a state player, the scope of which is too limited to contain the big ambitions of its leaders. The tinge of sadness over Amethi loss has subjugated the feel good aspect of Rahul Gandhi’s record victory margin in Wayanad. Congressmen cannot make up whether to laugh or cry.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who has been instrumental in sending both parties to their respective states of mind, has himself thought it prudent to play the martyr. He says he and his party have paid the price for putting road blocks against the ferocious Modi juggernaut. He is claiming credit for not allowing BJP to open account in Kerala. According to him, the fear of Modi drove the minorities to consolidate behind Congress and UDF. And it was CPI-M and the Left Front that created such fear by highlighting the danger of allowing the saffron party a trouble-free passage in Kerala.

Obviously, his communist pride does not allow him to own the responsibility of driving a large section of the majority Hindu community towards UDF on account of his virulent stand on the Sabarimala women’s entry issue. Leaders of the outfit that spearheaded the Sabarimala agitation have claimed that the believers and devotees have taught a lesson to the chief minister, which they had promised to do during the course of the agitation.

Pinarayi Vijayan, the strongman of Kerala CPI-M, who could once dictate terms to the party’s central leadership because he was the one who controlled the country’s only communist ministry, will, need much convincing power to justify his claim of martyrdom. There are signs of his approach being questioned, but these are too feeble to cause worry for his Kannur lobby in the party.

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