Political violence was the United Democratic Front’s key campaign theme in the aftermath of the twin murders of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sharath Lal in Kasaragod.
: The issue of political violence is a major factor that played a decisive role in shaping the electoral outcome in the Parliamentary constituencies in North Malabar region as it was the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) key campaign theme in the aftermath of the twin murders of Youth Congress workers Kripesh and Sharath Lal at Kalloytt in Kasaragod in February.
The electoral debacle of the CPI(M) in Kannur, Kasaragod and Vadakara constituencies, parts of which have seen incidents of political violence and murders, is a clear indication that the UDF’s concerted efforts during the campaign to keep the issue of violence live yielded results. Congress candidates in the constituencies left no stones unturned to turn the spotlight on what it called the CPI(M)’s culture of eliminating its rivals. The UDF circles say that its campaign salvo targeting the CPI(M)’s alleged culture of political violence struck a chord with the electorate in the region.
“The electoral outcome was also the people’s mandate against political violence perpetrated by the CPI(M) in Kannur and neighbouring areas,” said Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president and candidate in the Kannur constituency, who is set to romp home with a thumping margin. People were fed up with political violence in the region, he added.
During the electioneering, the UDF invoked the brutal murders of Kripesh and Sharath Lal as also the hacking to death of S.P. Shuhaib near Mattannur last year. The appeal of the UDF candidates to the outrage of the people against the youths gave a poignant touch to the electioneering of the UDF. The candidature of CPI(M) leader P. Jayarajan, who is an accused in the cases of murders of RSS worker K. Manoj and Indian Union Muslim League worker Abdul Shukkoor, both investigated by the CBI, were utilised by the UDF during the campaign to portray the CPI(M) as a party that sheltered the accused in cases of political violence.
The CPI(M) will be left to do some serious introspection in the coming days on the situation that led to its rout in the North Malabar region which it treated as its invincible fortresses. The party’s major cause of concern will be erosion of votes even in its stronghold Assembly segments such as Dharmadam, Mattannur and Taliparamba, where Mr. Sudhakaran could garner substantial number of votes capable of giving it the jitters.
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