The ruling CPM in Kerala has instructed its workers and leaders to visit homes of the people for a week and listen to their grievances and opinions as a way of gaining back their support after the party’s debilitating rout in the Lok Sabha elections. The party, which won 7 seats in the 2014 polls from Kerala, could hold on to just one this time. It’s ally, the CPI which had won one seat last time, drew a blank this year.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan admitted to reporters at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram that a section of the voters, who have backed the party in the past, has deserted it this time. Therefore, the way to regain their trust and support is to visit their homes, explain the party’s position on certain issues and listening to the people, he said.
“In the week of July 22-28, state committee members, secretariat members, MLAs, MPs, local body members and workers of the CPM will undertake visits to people’s homes. Later in August, the party will hold family meetings at the local level,” Balakrishnan told reporters after the two-day state committee meeting in Thiruvananthapuram.
The meeting was said to be a stormy affair with leaders bringing up reasons for the party’s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha elections apart from other issues such as the rape allegations against Balakrishnan’s eldest son and the suicide of an expatriate after a CPM-ruled municipality in Kannur allegedly refused clearance for a convention centre he built. Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai presented the review report, prepared by the central committee, on the Lok Sabha election results, at the state committee meeting.
The report had questioned why the party was not able to gauge the mood of the people and flagged the BJP’s vote-share of 15% in the state as a concern. It said that a fear of the BJP and the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre propelled a section of the secular and democratic-minded voters among the minorities towards the Congress-led UDF.
Balakrishnan also said regional working meetings of the party would be held in Ernakulam (July 3), Kozhikode (July 4) and Thiruvananthapuram (July 5) to evaluate the election results.