Thiruvananthapuram: A day after Congress candidate Uma Thomas won one of the most high profile assembly by-election in Kerala in recent times, the first salvo has been fired by the CPI – the second biggest ally in the ruling Left government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
While the Congress tasted a massive win, the first salvo has been fired at the Left and it came from senior CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswan, who said that the verdict at Thrikkakara is a lesson that has been given by the electorate and it cannot be ignored.
“Development should take place by taking people into confidence. This verdict will be discussed in the Left Democratic Front and also by all the parties individually,” said Viswan, giving enough indications that it is time to rein in Vijayan, who after winning a second term has become autocratic in his style of functioning.
A section of the CPI top brass has been deeply upset over the manner in which Vijayan, much against the wishes of many allies in the Left, has been going on in an ‘autocratic’ manner about implementing the K-Rail project in the state.
Both Congress and the BJP say that this project is not needed for Kerala given the massive cost which they say will be in excess of Rs 1.50 lakh crore and would be an environmental and economic disaster leading to a huge burden for the next generation.
Across the state, whenever the K-Rail authorities have gone forward to lay the marking stones to conduct the social impact study, it ended in utter chaos and each time the protests surface, Vijayan says come what may, they will go forward with the project.
The by-election was held following the demise of Congress veteran and two-time Thrikkakara legislator P.T. Thomas and ever since the Left campaign marshalled by Vijayan began, their hash tag was their candidate, a young interventional cardiologist, Joe Joseph would hit a sixer and help the Vijayan-led Left make a century of legislators in the 140 member assembly.
Never before had the state witnessed the Chief Minister being physically present in the constituency to campaign in a by-election and along with him, around 75 other legislators and the entire cabinet went around houses meeting the electorate.
But when votes were counted, Uma won with a record margin of 25,016 votes, the highest in the constituency since its inception in 2011.
At the Thrikkakara by-election, while Vijayan and his team slammed the Congress led UDF for thwarting development process, when votes were counted, his talk of development agenda fell flat as Uma leading right from the start of counting, ended with the highest ever winning margin.
Top Congress leaders including A.K. Antony and two time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy spoke that the verdict was against the arrogance of Vijayan.
Murmurs have already begun in the Left that the selection of their candidate Joseph was faulty, and the person primarily responsible for this was State Industries Minister P. Rajeev.
Meanwhile, the Ernakulam district CPI-M committee is meeting to discuss what happened and C.N. Mohan has already given a clean chit to Vijayan by saying that it was they who were leading the campaign and Vijayan, only after being invited, had come for the campaign.
Now with Viswan already sounding that lessons have to be learned and stating that this defeat will be discussed across their political front, all eyes are on Vijayan, as he is yet to react to the shocking defeat.