Kerala CPI-M to expand voter base to include dalits, women

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 23 (IANS) After six days of marathon meetings at all levels, the Kerala unit of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Friday spelt out measures to ensure its cadres connect more with the voters, its state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said on Friday.

He however, gave a clean chit to the performance and functioning of the state's three-year-old Pinarayi Vijayan government.

After the Left Democratic Front's rout in this year's Lok Sabha elections, the CPI-M-top brass conducted a door-to-door campaign in the state explaining its position on various issues, especially the Sabarimala temple row.

Balakrishnan admitted that the CPI-M's support base has shrunk and to expand it the party must work on development and peace.

"The party had 48 per cent vote share during the 2006 Assembly polls. It came down to 35 per cent in the recent Lok Sabha polls. We have to get back voters who have drifted away from us and we will see that we make inroads into sections of dalits and women," said Balakrishnan.

"It has been decided to spread the Left ideology in the social and scientific community too. We have a five lakh strong cadre and a message has been sent to them to conduct themselves with poise in public and not indulge in any unruly behaviour," added Balakrishnan.

He said for long, there was a misconception that the CPI-M is against faith and believers and that its members cannot take part in any religious activity.

"This has always been used against us. In the Sabarimala issue, as has been said, we neither took any women inside the Sabarimala temple nor asked any women to go there. The state government only implemented the Supreme Court order that allow entry to women," said Balakrishnan.

He also expressed concern over the strengthening of the right wing forces in Kerala. "Using the power of governance at the Centre, the BJP and RSS forces are strengthening themselves in Kerala. To counter these, we have decided to spread the Left ideology across sectors in the state," added Balakrishnan.

On former Finance minister and Congress leader P.Chidambaram arrest, Balakrishnan said his party was very clear that it would never support anyone involved in corruption, but the way Chidambaram's case was handled was wrong and CPI-M did not support that either.

--IANS

sg/rtp

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