Pinarayi Vijayan Faces Internal Criticism After LS Poll Defeat

In the Lok Sabha polls, the LDF's vote share dropped by nearly 3%, winning only one out of 20 seats
Pinarayi Vijayan Faces Internal Criticism After LS Poll Defeat

For the first time since his election in 2016, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his administration have faced censure from within the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] following the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) severe defeat in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

A five-day review by the CPI(M)’s state committee and state secretariat, concluded on Thursday, highlighted public dissatisfaction with Vijayan’s government and its unfulfilled promises as key reasons for the LDF’s poor performance, sources said.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the LDF's vote share dropped by nearly 3%, winning only one out of 20 seats. In contrast, their main rival, the United Democratic Front (UDF), also saw a 2% drop in vote share compared to 2019 but secured 18 seats. Adding to the LDF’s woes, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) increased its vote share by 3.6%, making significant inroads into LDF strongholds and winning its first-ever Lok Sabha seat in Thrissur.

This internal criticism is unprecedented for Vijayan, who is known for his strict discipline and intolerance of dissent. When a Left-aligned former Christian bishop blamed the government for the coalition’s election setback, Vijayan publicly called him an ‘idiot’. Despite the party’s internal assessment, Vijayan denied any anti-government sentiment influencing the defeat. CPI(M) state secretary MV Govindan, briefing the press after the review, acknowledged that the party failed to grasp public sentiment but refrained from directly criticizing the Chief Minister or holding the government responsible for the loss. He attributed the LDF’s defeat to various factors, including support for communal outfits like Jamaat-e-Islami and SDPI, and the BJP’s inroads into caste-based organizations like SNDP Yogam and certain Christian communities.

Govindan emphasized that the party has a history of making corrections after electoral defeats and will continue this process. Following the comprehensive five-day assessment, the state secretariat will draft a revival blueprint ahead of the local body elections next year and the crucial Assembly elections in 2026.

This internal review and the subsequent blueprint are seen as critical steps for the CPI(M) to regain public trust and address the shortcomings identified in the Lok Sabha elections, ensuring better preparation and strategy for future electoral battles.

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