Pinarayi is all poise in sizzling Palakkad

Pinarayi is all poise in sizzling Palakkad

Pinarayi is all poise in sizzling Palakkad

It’s not difficult to connect with people who look at Pinarayi Vijayan as ice to V S Achuthanandan’s fire. It’s not that they’ve always stuck to the rules of what we perceive as this very engaging role-play. Still, it’s Vijayan who, most of the time, comes with that sort of stony, unwavering air of assurance.

On Saturday, at Vadakkenchery in sweltering Palakkad, the CPI(M) Politburo member addressed a few hundreds with a familiar calm, never drifting to crowd-pleasing broadsides on political rivals.

Vijayan spoke about what the CPI(M) and the Left Democratic Front have been highlighting in their campaign hand-outs and television news debates—plummeting rubber prices, farmer suicides, unemployment, sloppy handling of the drought situation; not quite the kind of speech that enthralls a crowd of men and women under a 11-am sun. They share another round of bottled water; some of them chuckle when Vijayan talks about contamination of drinking water. They still listen.

Some of the women, worn down by the heat, get up and leave. Men watching it all near the entrance of the makeshift venue are not amused.

“He’s talking about important issues, can’t you wait for another 20 minutes?” one of them ask the women. Saseendran, a CPI(M) supporter who came in from Alathur to hear Vijayan, says the leader’s campaign across the state is bringing in a “sense of confidence” among party activists. “He plays to his strengths. Individual leaders don’t matter a lot in a Communist party but I feel he’s someone who speaks his mind and speaks without a need to please anyone,” he says.

He mentions Oommen Chandy and there’s a sense of anticipation in the crowd. It’s about the chief minister’s criticism that the Left parties had derailed prospects of Kerala as an IT hub. “He knows people are going to reject him, that explains these strange charges. Has Chandy forgotten that India’s first IT park was formed in Thiruvananthapuram by a Left government?” he asks.

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