Sunday, Nov 30, 2003
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By C. Gouridasan Nair
The LDF, which had thrown all caution to the winds to publicly endorse the veteran Congress leader, K. Karunakaran's attempts to unseat Mr. Antony, now finds itself exposed. It is not that the game is up for Mr. Karunakaran or that what happens in the days to come would not justify the LDF's actions. But, for the time being, it is being seen as having put its money on the wrong horse.
The LDF erred not so much in taking concrete decisions vis-a-vis Mr. Karunakaran's toppling game as in going public with its support for the senior Congress leader's moves. It never formally decided to support Mr. Karunakaran, but that was the impression that people gathered from the utterances of senior LDF leaders. A fair share of the blame for this should rest with the CPI(M) leadership which apparently overestimated Mr. Karunakaran's ability to pull the rug from under Mr. Antony's feet.
The CPI and RSP had repeatedly cautioned the CPI(M) leaders against committing too heavily and openly on Mr. Karunakaran. The RSP had been more vociferous of the two and even gone to the extent of publicly stating that it would have nothing to do with an alternative arrangement to be led by Mr. Karunakaran. The CPI did not go to those lengths, but made it known quite forcefully within the forums of the LDF that Mr. Karunakaran could not be allowed to use the LDF as a bargaining chip.
At the last LDF State committee meeting, leaders of the two parties had extracted an assurance from the CPI(M) leaders that Mr. Karunakaran would not be allowed to continue with his waiting game beyond November 30. The message was also communicated to Mr. Karunakaran and that is what resulted in the frenetic political activities of the last few days.
At one point, it did seem that Mr. Karunakaran would pull it off, but then came the reverses. The numbers kept slipping in the face of some clever counter moves by Mr. Antony's lieutenants and the `there-is-no-reason-to-disbelieve-Karunakaran' argument suddenly began to sound hollow. The CPI(M) leaders can always claim that their primary objective was to split the Congress down the middle. But, that is unlikely to go down well with party workers and less so with the people at large.
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