This is a guest post by VIPIN KUMAR CHIRAKKARA
In his address to the media in Thiruvananthapuram after the Left won the mandate in Kerala, Sitaram Yechury announced two positions to be given to two leaders of his own party who had successfully contested the elections from there. One is that of the leader of the legislative party of the CPI-M, or effectively the chief ministership of Kerala. That went to Pinarayi Vijayan. The other one went to V.S. Achuthanandan. He is made the Fidel Castro of Kerala. Yechury, the embattled general secretary of the party who is also known to be closer to VS than to Vijayan, elaborated on the function of the second position since, seemingly, he felt that people could develop doubts about the implication of this honour, if not an anxiety whether the left victory in a single assembly election is turning Kerala into Cuba. He clarified that VS will be an inspirational symbol providing advice and direction to the new government, and added that the veteran leader could not head the government due to his advanced age and poor health. Yechury was, of course, flanked by the state secretary of the party Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and VS himself. The suspense thriller of this election thus had the curtain fall, with an anti-climactic scene of unity.
It would deprive us of a unique opportunity to know another meaning of the mandate if we ignore how Yechury has read it. He interpreted the mandate in the same address to the media that was held in Kerala’s capital. He had a special reading to offer us, indeed different from what we all would ordinarily imagine. His reading is distinguished from ours by its methodology itself. He does not look at the assembly elections with reference to states where elections have taken place now. According to him, elections took place in 820 seats. He took out his cell phone and provided the statistics of the results. The BJP could win only in 64 assembly seats, the Congress in 115 whereas the Left has been victorious in 124. He said that this was “the absolute ground reality”. He assured us, the anxious beings, further that this reality implied no such threat as the return of the saffron. When a journalist mentioned to him the victory of the Trinamool Congress that had won above 210 seats in West Bengal, he said he had in mind only the national parties. So, we are expected to understand if we haven’t yet, that the Left’s is indeed an impressive performance as a national party!