Five reasons why Congress lost at Chengannur

D Vijayakumar rues that the leadership took election for granted.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: 66-year-old D. Vijayakumar, Congress candidate in Chengannur who was trounced by CPM’s Saji Cherian by 20,956 votes was caught off guard by such a margin. Three days after Vijayakumar lost the closely contested battle, he has come to terms with the defeat and says he is not going to be cowed down by it. He cites five issues which should not have happened during the electioneering this time. Vijayakumar had an advantage which the two rival candidates, Saji Cherian or BJP’s P. S. Sreedharan Pillai did not have.

During his more than four decade long stint as a Congress leader and a reputed lawyer in the constituency, he knew every voter by name. But unfortunately before the meticulous election campaign envisaged by CPM central committee member M. V. Govindan, Vijayakumar’s acceptability and clean image was conveniently forgotten by the voters. Vijayakumar cites five issues which led to his poll debacle including weaker organisation of the Congress in the constituency, UDF approaching the election in a lighter vein, not detecting the undercurrents, turning of all communities against the UDF and above all the clever use of communal card by the CPM against him.

“There has been a failure of the party setup during Sobhana George’s three terms where she did not bother to have an office for the Congress in Chengannur. Later during P. C. Vishnunath’s two terms, he got busy with other commitments entrusted by the party leaving the party there all the weaker”, said a dejected Vijayakumar. His daughter, Jyothi VIjayakumar who had become famous in the party circles with her translation of the speeches made by the national leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, camped in Chengannur for more than a month to take care of his campaigning. 39-year-old Jyothi visited almost every single household seeking votes for her father who had lost the seat many a time between the cup and the lip owing to group politics since 1991.

Vijayakumar rues that despite his warning to the party leadership, they took the by-election for granted. “UDF approached the by-election in a lackadaisical way. Saji Cherian approached the election in right earnest with the help of Govindan Master when the latter had stayed away from the constituency hardly for three days to attend the party congress in Hyderabad”, said Vijayakumar. He also recalled that there have been many a time when his voters approached him for favours to get a parole or to withdraw cases against them where he don’t have the access to do it.

“Communities like Orthodox, SNDP, Viswakarma Maha Sabha, KPMS, SDPI all had cases charged against them. These communities were not against the UDF, but they did not want to turn against the ruling front which saw Saji Cherian romping home”, added Vijayakumar. He also added that by the time Congress Working Committee leader A. K. Antony unleashed a scathing attack against the CPM resorting to use communal card against him, it was too late as the damage had already been done. Vijayakumar was forced to remove his trademark black tilak on his forehead when the CPM alleged that he is a RSS leader who has put on the garb of a Congress leader.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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