Express News Service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The dramatic incidents of the last few days in the Kerala Assembly have exposed the Left front’s lack of coordination and collective leadership and its failure in initiating dialogue. For the first time since his return to power, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s reputation as a political strategist has come under scrutiny, as the opposition has picked up momentum in cornering the LDF. The multi-dimensional failure has now posed a challenge to the ruling front.
While the Opposition has managed to question the impartiality of the Speaker, the LDF has been trying to reply in kind by criticising the former members for their unruly behaviour. However, differences of opinion have cropped up among LDF allies, especially the CPI, over the manner in which the Kerala government has been handling the crisis.
“The LDF should display more diplomacy in running the affairs of the assembly,” a CPI MLA said, on condition of anonymity. “The unwanted incidents occurred over a relatively insignificant issue. We have to be more tactful. Now the opposition has an upper hand with the public,” he added.
The front has also been under the cosh for its flawed floor management. The poor coordination among its leadership is seen as impacting tactics. “We feel the vacuum created by the absence of a leader like Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. In the first Pinarayi government it was A K Balan who did the job,” a former CPM MLA said. “There is now no liaison work in the LDF. The situation would have been different if Kodiyeri were alive. He could have easily conveyed his sentiment to Pinarayi. M V Govindan would have limitations,” he added.
Moreover, the CPM has a dearth of second-tier leadership that can support the CM. Inexperience in floor management affects the LDF’s performances against more- experienced opposition leaders, such as Ramesh Chennithala, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, P K Kunhalikutty, and P J Joseph.
The CPM, on its part, has blamed the Opposition’s personal attack on the CM for aggravating the situation.
“V D Satheesan is behaving like a mob leader,” a CPM state committee member said. “Now, there is a pattern to their operations. They have turned their guns on Riyas and Shamseer. We do not think it was an impulsive move on the part of Satheesan to corner them, as the CPM has been growing its influence in the minority community,” he added.
According to the Congress, the speaker’s attitude changed following Mathew Kuzhalnadan’s heated exchange of words with the CM. Pinarayi had invited the speaker’s attention to the matter. “The approach of the speaker, who had till then been behaving well with the opposition, changed abruptly,” said Thiruvanchoor.
Unsurprisingly, there are also differences of opinion in the UDF over Satheesan’s style of functioning. “As opposition leader, he need not respond to all remarks by ruling MLAs,” a Congress MLA said. “If K Karunakaran or Oommen Chandy had been the opposition leader, they would have thought twice before organising a protest in front of the speaker’s office,” he added.
There’s also criticism of the speaker’s role in the entire issue. According to a political commentator, the speaker is bound to carry out assembly proceedings. But his remarks against UDF MLAs have raised questions about his role.