Thiruvananthapuram: Prasanna Earnest and Anil Kumar of the CPI-M are all set to become the Mayors of Kollam and Ernakulam respectively.
While Kollam is a Communist Party of India-Marxist bastion, Ernakulam was wrested by the Left from the United Democratic Front. The infighting in the Congress let the Ernakulam corporation slip out of the opposition party’s hand.
Of the six corporations in the state, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, and Kozhikode are with the Left while the UDF has retained power in Kannur corporation.
While the CPI-M has sprung a surprise by choosing 21-year-old Arya Rajendran as Thiruvananthapuram Mayor, the smooth selection of both Kollam and Ernakulam corporation Mayors is a clear message from the Left Democratic Front that it is a cohesive unit.
In Kozhikode corporation also, the CPI-M could choose its Mayor candidate Beena Philip without hassles while in Thrissur the Left is waiting for the support of rebel Congress candidate Vargheese’s support.
Thrissur has been a neck and neck race between the two fronts while in Kannur, the lone corporation won by the Congress, the party is yet to finalise the Mayor candidate.
The Left Democratic Front was in the back foot for the past few months over the gold smuggling case, and money laundering case allegedly involving Chief Minister’s former Principal Secretary and the arrest and subsequent judicial custody of CPI-M politburo member and former State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s son Bineesh Kodiyeri.
However, victory in the local body elections by pipping the UDF and overcoming the threat posed by the BJP has given the Left a huge confidence boost.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already started a state-level yatra, meeting prominent persons from different walks of life in each district and to prepare the election manifesto of the LDF based on these interactions.
A senior CPI-M leader said on the condition of anonymity: “The confidence of the Left is very high after the local body polls. But we know that the next Assembly elections will be a real political fight and we will have to take on a rejuvenated Congress. The hassle-free selection of Mayoral candidates is another feather in the cap for the party and has given a message to the people of the state that we are a cohesive unit.”