Shailaja vs. EP: Battling Over the TP Chandrasekharan Murder Case Fallout

Amidst Controversy, CPM Leadership Grapples with Silence Strategy for Vadakara Elections

Kannur: KK Shailaja is deeply unhappy with Left Convenor EP Jayarajan’s statements defending those convicted in the TP Chandrasekharan murder case. Shailaja believes the accused, condemned by both the trial court and High Court, will backfire against CPM in the Vadakara elections. She informed senior CPM leaders about her concerns.

Shailaja’s stance is to avoid controversies to win the Vadakara Lok Sabha seat. She believes defending those convicted of Chandrasekharan’s murder would significantly hurt the party. The brutal 2012 murder of TP Chandrasekharan, a former CPM leader who formed the Revolutionary Marxist Party, has long plagued CPM.

Meanwhile, Congress is actively arguing they stopped Shailaja in Kannur to defeat CPM. EP continues to address TP case controversies publicly in various forums. In Kannur, EP and Shailaja represent opposite poles within CPM politics. EP is known for inflammatory remarks, while Shailaja cultivates a clean image.

Contrasting Approaches between EP and Shailaja

Their rivalry dates back years. EP previously held the Mattannur assembly constituency. Shailaja contested and won there with a record majority last time, proving her popularity. She became the Vadakara candidate based on the belief her popularity would convert to votes. However, Congress aims to undermine her appeal by resurrecting the TP case.

Shailaja’s camp sees EP’s statements defending the convicted as problematic. They believe it reminds voters of CPM’s violent past and links Shailaja to old-style party functionaries.

After the verdict, CPM leader EP Jayarajan claimed that some wanted to target CPM. Still, the party had no role in the murder. He argued conviction does not equal guilt, citing examples of convictions overturned.

Specifically, Jayarajan called the deceased TP Kunhanthan “a tender heart who did not even try to kill an ant.” In a Facebook post, Jayarajan said Kunhanthan was falsely accused due to political rivalry. Jayarajan also rejected KK Rama’s plea to overturn P Mohanan’s acquittal and debunk claims of a CPM conspiracy.

Shailaja objects to Jayarajan’s public Facebook statements on this sensitive issue. She believes no one else will force Jayarajan to correct his stance. Either way, this will fuel discussion in Vadakara, where Congress will also highlight the murder.

While K Muralidharan is Congress’s Vadakara candidate, K Sudhakaran will contest in Kannur. Congress aims to discuss the case across northern Kerala to consolidate anti-CPM sentiment.

If successful, CPM may face major setbacks regionally in this election. Their base could further erode if the TP case convinces voters that CPM remains unchanged despite a new generation like Shailaja.

Therefore, Shailaja urges CPM leaders to avoid public comment on the case. She insists avoiding controversy is the only path to victory in Vadakara. Her political future is at stake if the party fails to defeat Congress’s onslaught.

Shailaja became a star campaigner for CPM after receiving praise for her handling of the Nipah virus outbreak and Kerala floods as health minister. Her visibility sparked hopes that CPM could renew its image and appeal to women, youth and moderates.

However, the TP case threatens to remind Keralites of the party’s problematic past and culture of political violence. Congress aims to puncture CPM’s attempts to craft a new progressive identity under leaders like Shailaja.

Opposition Opportunity

The opposition will likely continue utilizing the TP case to undermine the Left’s outreach and retention of female voters and centrists. Therefore, Shailaja views any comments that justify or downplay the murder as detrimental to CPM’s electoral prospects.

She recognizes that distancing the party from past violence is critical to expanding CPM’s limited base. Otherwise, Congress will successfully portray them as an unreformed relic. The TP case fallout shows simmering tensions within CPM on reconciling its radical roots with an inclusive future.

The TP Chandrasekharan murder case has become a contentious issue ahead of elections in Kerala. CPM leader KK Shailaja wants her party to avoid controversy by refraining from public comments that defend those convicted of the murder. She believes remarks made by EP Jayarajan rationalizing the crime could hurt CPM’s prospects in the Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency and beyond. However, Jayarajan claims there is still doubt about who is truly guilty.

Congress aims to use the case to undermine CPM’s attempts to portray a more progressive image. With Shailaja advocating silence on the polarizing case to attract women and centrist voters, tensions simmer within CPM on reconciling its radical legacy with an inclusive future. The fallout shows CPM’s challenges in expanding its limited base if it cannot shake off associations with political violence.

If the opposition resurrects the murder to damage CPM, the party must recalibrate its response to avoid alienating moderate supporters. The TP case remains a complex issue that could significantly impact voter perceptions and CPM’s electoral fortunes across Kerala.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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