Commentary: The Pala Effect
What has happened in Pala is truly unexpected. As the counting session of the Pala by-election has reached its final stage, LDF candidate Mani C Kappan has emerged victorious unexpectedly in the seat. The development is a clear message to the UDF camp: if something can prevent them from reaching the corridor of power, that element is none other than infighting.
Mani C Kappan was not the most appropriate candidate the LDF could select for the seat of Pala. He, several times, in the past, tasted defeat in the constituency. His candidature even invited serious criticism to the LDF camp.
The new development proves all the aforesaid negative speculations wrong. It also proves the decision of the leftist camp right in the matter of the candidature of the NCP leader.
What Mr Kappan has achieved is a glorious victory. The fort K M Mani erected for his party is not that week. That fact is what the ‘2000+’ lead the NCP leader has obtained in the constituency a colourful one.
Definitely, the familiarity of the figure of Mr Kappan is not the only reason for his victory. There are several helping factors to his victory.
The prime one is the infighting in the KC(M). Since the unexpected demise of KC(M) founder leader K M Mani, the party, for which the UDF allotted the Pala constituency, is in two paths: one led by Jose K Mani (the son of the late leader) and the other led by P J Joseph (the close supporter of the late leader).
If there was no infighting, the UDF might have easily won the seat. Actually, the moment it was clear that the UDF’s candidate would not get the symbol of the KC(M), the possibility for the failure of the UDF candidate emerged.
What the Left Democratic Front candidate has done is to simply explore the possibility to its utmost potential.
The present election result will have a serious impact on the upcoming elections, including the declared by-elections in five constituencies, in the state.
The victory is a serious booster to the LDF camp, which suffered a humiliating defeat in the last General Election.
Actually, it is not the defeat of the UDF camp. It can be turned into a stepping stone to success. The UDF can learn many things from this failure. In that sense, it is a boon to the UDF camp. In reality, the defeat is only a blow to the overconfidence injected into the UDF camp by its unexpected success in the General Election, in which it grabbed at least nineteen of the twenty Lok Saba seats in the state reducing its prime rival LDF to mere one.
If the UDF shows intelligence to learn from this failure, it can win at least four of the five seats in the upcoming, crucial, by-elections, regain its lost strength, and increase the possibility of the party to return to the corridor of power in the state in the next Assembly Election.
For that, the first (or important) thing the UDF has to do is to advise all its member parties to shut its doors firmly towards the threat of infighting.
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