Lok Sabha elections 2019: Politburo meeting to discuss if Sabarimala affected Left’s votes

As the Communist Party of India (Marxist) politburo is set on Sunday to start its postmortem of the party’s performance in the 2019 national polls, a rift in the Kerala unit of CPI(M) has emerged over whether Sabarimala spoilt the Left’s chances in the state, with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan stating that it did not turn Left voters away.

In September 2018, the Supreme Court had permitted women of all age groups to enter the shrine, overturning an at least three-decade-old custom that prevented women of menstruating ages 10 to 50 years from paying obeisance at the temple.

Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party organized protests surrounding the decision. The ruling Left Democratic Front government, however, supported the top court’s verdict and even assisted women in making the pilgrimage.

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However, a section of the CPI (M) felt that by doing so, the Left lost its base among the Hindu voters. In this Lok Sabha poll, the CPI (M) slid to its lowest ever tally of three seats, winning just one — Alappuzha — in Kerala.

At least three CPI (M) leaders said that in an internal report, a section of the state unit has maintained that the Sabarimala issue hurt the sentiments of a section of the Hindu voters.

“It was very evident in the run up to the poll. We couldn’t get enough Hindu voters as many people felt as if we are antiHindu,” said a senior CPI (M) leader of Kerala. A Delhi-based central leader of the party also admitted that Sabarimala had some impact in the Left’s prospect in the state.

A day after the 2019 results, CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan presented the preliminary report, which is likely to be discussed in the upcoming politburo meeting. The politburo will conduct a critical analysis on why the party fared so badly in the national polls.

Also read| Near sweep for Congress; CPM left with one

First Published:
May 26, 2019 07:28 IST

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