What Kerala CPI(M) Can Learn from the Tripura Elections Results!

Tripura elections results

My answer to the question vide the above caption is NOTHING.

Whatever I am writing below will rationalize my answer with the presumption that Tripura election results are genuine; i.e., there was no EVM manipulation, no booth capturing, no bribery of voters, no hypnosis of voters (ok that’s going too far, but…whatever).

I have visited both Tripura (Agartala) and Kerala (Kochi). In fact, I published a travelogue, Kerala Hugged, after visiting Kerala, which I kept distributing free to anybody with a pretty smile; I am extending the offer again for a fortnight; so, if you have a pretty smile, send me a smiley and the book will be yours. Ok…the winks a la Priya Prakash will also do.

There was a huge difference between the communism of the two States. Tripura and Kerala both had narrow streets lined up with big houses, but Tripura’s residences had built up huge boundary walls overpowering the narrow streets whereas, in Kerala, the easement rights of necessity from one property to another was a norm. Urban transportation as well as fooding options in Tripura were limited whereas Kerala was lavish with options. People in Tripura as well as in Kerala were friendly, but I did find signs of resistance to outsiders in Tripura but none at all in Kerala. Tripura was unclean like any other city whereas Kerala was pristine. Long presence of NRI culture in Kerala had reduced generational gap opening up outlets for expression of aspirational values: there was perceptible Epicureanism in Kerala whereas Agartala was strongly religious showing deep tolerance for public nuisance.

But the above may or may not need to affect the political strategy. At the most, these may corroborate my reasons below. The main reason for no political correlation between Tripura and Kerala is the difference in the role played by the Congress in the two States. In Kerala, the Congress is strong and active whereas, in Tripura, the Congress was dull and depleting. Also, the voter base of the Congress in Kerala is mainly minorities, who, as a rule, don’t vote for the BJP. So, it won’t be possible for the BJP to substitute for the Congress in Kerala. Indeed, Kerala also has the strong presence of the RSS in the State, and there is also a strong possibility of mass migration of Hindus from the Left to the BJP, but that would be en dehors de the Congress. Till now, the BJP has not found any clean outlet for infusing Hindutva politics in Kerala. The attempts have been strongly resisted with gore. Kerala, for the Left, is like Gujarat for the BJP. To beat the BJP in Gujarat, you need to better them in Hindutva, in which audacious adventure Rahul Gandhi has recently failed. But bettering the Left in Kerala would require shedding Hindutva, which may just not be possible for the BJP. They might have attempted it in the North East by promoting beef, etc, but that has hardly helped them: they have not gained anything in Meghalaya, and in Nagaland they have actually lost to NPF+; it is only thanks to the ever deceitful JD(U) that they might form the government in Nagaland. Will they try such a large-scale strategy in Kerala? I don’t think so. Yes…they might convert SNDP and the likes into political organisations and forge an alliance with them thereafter, but that would not be the same as the strategy adopted by them in Tripura.

However, I do maintain, wherever there are Hindus, the BJP will make inroads sooner or later. So, if at all any lessons have to be learned from the Tripura debacle, the Kerala CPI(M) needs to be wary of the Hindu appeasement policy of Manik Sarkar. Hinduism/Hindutva promotion, however meek, will only benefit the BJP. I would rather advice the Kerala CPI(M) to proactively tackle the BJP’s Hindutva by developing a large-scale program for promotion of atheism. Rest can ALL remain the same (but with better sensitiveness towards tribals).

P.S. There is another strong difference, possibly the strongest, between Tripura and Kerala: Kerala doesn’t have a history of deployment of armed forces in the State whereas AFSPA has only been lifted recently from Tripura. But I don’t know how to categorize it.

About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored six books: "Kerala Hugged"; "Light: Philosophy"; "Flare: Opinions"; "Sparks: Satire and Reviews"; "Writings @ Ankur Mutreja"; and "Nine Poems"; which can be downloaded free from the links on the top menu.

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