Sabarimala temple issue led to LS poll debacle, admits CPM
Thiruvananthapuram: After the Lok Sabha poll drubbing in Kerala, where the LDF could win only a single seat, the ruling CPM Wednesday admitted the entry of two women into the Sabarimala temple did cause a "big impact" at the hustings.
This was stated in a post-poll evaluation report, prepared by the party's central committee and discussed during the two-day state committee meeting here on Sunday and Monday, excerpts of which were published in party mouthpiece "Deshabhimani" on Wednesday.
A day after the human wall of women was organised by the ruling front on January 1, two women had trekked the holy hills and offered prayers at the Sabarimala temple. This was much used by the Opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP during the election campaign, creating a "big impact" among party sympathisers, it was stated in the report.
This is the first time that the CPM has openly admitted the entry of the two women -- Bindu and Kanakadurga (both in their forties) -- into the Lord Ayyappa temple on January 2 had contributed to the Front's defeat.
The Supreme Court had on September 28 last year allowed women of all age groups to offer prayers at the Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala, where earlier women and girls in the menstrual age were forbidden. Protests had broken out in the state after the LDF government decided to implement the verdict.
Earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had stated that Sabarimala women's entry issue was not the reason for the ruling Left front's rout in the LS polls and had claimed that many voted for Congress-led UDF, which won 19 seats, expecting it to form the government at the Centre.
While the CPM and the LDF government decided to favour the SC court verdict, the Congress and the BJP first supported and later changed their stance. They launched a "vicious" campaign against the LDF and succeeded in attracting the section of voters close to LDF, the report stated.
The fear that the BJP would ride to power at the Centre once again, created a pro-UDF wave among secular minds and led to votes being polled in favour of the UDF, it said. The report said the CPM failed to read the pulse of the people, which was a "serious" flaw.
Though there was good acceptance of the LDF government's performance among people, it, however, was not reflected in the poll outcome and this needed to be examined. The report also stated that at the centre there was a need to form a secular government for which there was need to strengthen the Left presence. However, the LDF could not garner the confidence of the electorate.
To ensure the defeat of CPM and the LDF, the report alleged that in Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Pathnamthitta, Thrissur and Palakkad, the BJP gave a share of their votes in favour of UDF. The report said even though it was the Left party which was at the receiving end of political violence in the state, the UDF, the BJP and the media succeeded in unleashing a campaign blaming the CPM and LDF for the same.
Despite a chunk of its votes going to the UDF kitty, the BJP could garner 15.56 per cent votes and this has created a "big scare", it said adding to stall the saffron party's growth in the state, there is need to put up a united fight and be patient.
In some party strongholds, there has been an erosion in the vote bank, and it needs to be examined why despite the party's efforts and the good performance of the government, the party failed to expand it voter base.
The report stated the party had failed to attract youngsters and wanted it to tap social media like the BJP. It also expressed anguish over the erosion in its traditional vote bank in its strongholds.