When CPM general secretary Prakash Karat disclosed to the media in Thiruvananthapuram that the LDF was going to the polls on its own and not allying with the DIC(K), the biggest treachery in Kerala politics was committed on the senior-most living politician, K. Karunakaran.
Owing to differences with Sonia and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Karunakaran and his son Muraleedharan left the Congress and formed the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) on 1st May 2005. In the local body elections, the CPM led LDF had tactical alliance with DIC(K) throughout the state. The LDF-DIC(K) alliance swept the polls winning almost 60-70 per cent of the local bodies including Mayorship of the five corporations and presidentship of 12 of the fourteen district panchayats. Later in the bye-election to the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha Constituency Karunakaran and his party worked whole heartedly for the victory of the CPI candidate, Panyan Raveendran, and as a result he won by a huge margin of 75,000 votes. While CPM State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan was in favour of an outright alliance with DIC(K), his beta-noire in party V.S. Atchudanandan, CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan and RSP leader Chandrachoodan were dead against any alliance with Karunakaran. Karat´s announcement was sweet victory for V.S. and company and, Pinarayi, sitting beside the CPM General Secretary received it as fait accompli.
Although they have a soft corner for Pinarayi, Karunakaran and his son swear vengeance against V.S. supporters, CPI and RSP. They said they will resort to tactical voting to see that several of these leaders bite the dust.
Stunned and unexpected, Karunakaran received the news with shock. He reacted violently and said that the LDF was not coming to power this time. Although they have a soft corner for Pinarayi, Karunakaran and his son swear vengeance against V.S. supporters, CPI and RSP. They said they will resort to tactical voting to see that several of these leaders bite the dust.
DIC(K) is boasting that they will put up candidates in all the 140 constituencies going to the polls in May 2006. Their bravado has to be seen in the context of the bipolar front politics that has been going on in Kerala for the past four decades. It is difficult for a single party to contest and win even a single seat, because the voter perception is towards voting for a front. The BJP, despite RSS having the largest network of Shakhas has not been able to register its presence in the assembly. This, inspite of the fact that BJP is the third largest party in Kerala after Congress and CPM, having branches in every nook and corner of Kerala. During the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when there was a general perception that NDA will come to power, the people voted Union Minister P. C. Thomas as M.P. from Moovattupuzha and gave 2.26 lakh votes to Union Minister O. Rajagopal in Thiruvanantha-puram but was defeated. P.C. Thomas later defected to the LDF camp. Moreover BJP was able to make gains in the local body polls too.
For understanding the voting patterns in Kerala, the chart displayed will be helpful. For predicting the outcome of the polls in May 2006, the results of 1996 assembly polls, 2001 Assembly polls and 2004 Lok Sabha polls are to be studied. In 1996, the LDF secured 58.46 lakhs votes (40.99 per cent), UDF 63.256 lakh votes (44.35 per cent) and BJP 5.48 lakh votes (7.81 per cent) Despite getting 5 lakh votes lesser than the UDF, the LDF gained power with 80 seats in the 140 member house, the UDF got 60 seats and BJP nil.
In 2001, Assembly polls the LDF got 61 lakh votes (38.75 per cent), UDF 75.48 lakh votes (47.95 per cent) and BJP 7.90 lakh votes (5.02 per cent). The UDF wrested power winning 100 seats leaving only 40 to the LDF.
In the 2004, Lok Sabha polls the LDF got 69.62 lakh votes (47 per cent), UDF 57.90 lakh votes (38 per cent) and BJP + P.C. Thomas 18.23 lakh votes (12 per cent). The LDF won 18 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats, conceding one to UDF (Muslim League and other to NDA (P.C. Thomas) now with LDF.
Moreover the UDF has lost miserably in the local body polls held in 2005.
Thus between 2001 and 2004, the UDF has lost almost 8.60 lakh votes to the LDF and 7.8 lakh votes to the BJP. The UDF vote which had gone to BJP candidates like O. Rajagopal, may not necessarily stay with the BJP during the 2006 polls, since it is basically an anti-left vote and it will be cast in favour of the more strong candidate who can defeat the CPM led, LDF.
The BJP, safely, has a solid vote bank of 10 lakh votes, with strong presence in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Kasargod districts. There are atleast 10 constituencies where BJP can poll more than 25,000 votes. It can poll 15,000-20,000 votes in atleast another 20 constituencies. It has been consistently coming second in Kasargod and Manjeswaram constituencies in Kasargod district right from 1991. In all these elections LDF is coming third since it is voting for the UDF (Muslim League) to prevent BJP entry into assembly. O. Rajagopal came first in two assembly segments and second in two segments during 2004 Lok Sabha polls. But that was essentially a vote for the massive development work he did for Thiruvanantha-puram and Kerala. But the 10 lakh + BJP vote will decide whether LDF or UDF will come to power.
The case of DIC(K) is also similar to BJP. The DIC(IK) has strong presence in Thiruva-nanthapuram Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts. The vote bank of DIC(K) will also be in the range of 10-12 lakh votes. But this vote is included in the 57.90 lakh votes which the UDF got in 2004.
Based on the 2004 Lok Sabha elections results, if the LDF, UDF, BJP and DIC(K) contest the elections separately the LDF will have a cake walk and they will win the elections with a big majority. When LDF was in alliance with DIC(K), the general prediction was that LDF will win 110 seats and UDF 30 seats. In the event of a four cornered fight, their victory will be much more.
Although a merger between Congress and Karunakaran may not take place, there are strong indications that DIC may ally with UDF. Senior leaders like Antony are working on that route. Karunakaran and Muraleedharan are not averse to that idea as their tactic is to wreck vengeance on V.S., CPI and RSP.
The LDF vote in 2004 is almost 70 lakhs. The UDF-DIC(K) vote bank may be of the order of 65 lakh votes. Even that may give the LDF an 80-60 lead in the 140 member house.
Much more than the UDF or the DIC(K), the RSS-BJP will be the worst victim of a CPM ride to power. Murder politics against RSS-BJP cadres will be on the rise.
During the past three decades almost 200 RSS cadres have lost their lives due to barbaric attacks by CPM goons, the majority being from Pinarayi´s district of Kannur. Due to ostracism practise by CPM, nobody marries into an RSS family and RSS cadres are prevented from participating in the funeral of their dear departed.
The CPM has many party villages in Kannur where others cannot live. Booth capturing by preventing agents of other parties to sit in polling booths is already underway in Kannur. Opposing candidates including those of UDF are prevented from submitting nominations. Introduction of cell rule whenever the CPM comes to power will make the whole establishment slave to the CPM hierarchy. Moreover administration will not be from Govt. Secretariat but CPM´s AKG centre.