Just when it was thought that the CPM had been damagingly exposed in the bogus voting issue, evidence of Muslim League men casting bogus votes tumbled out. The score suddenly became even. This was serious embarrassment for the UDF for it had always painted itself the victim of the CPM's high-handed tactics.
Now that its electoral misdeeds too are indisputable, the UDF cannot take the high moral ground. The only option left is to paint itself as the lesser evil. This is reminiscent of the maxim now popularised by the Mohanlal-Prithviraj blockbuster 'Lucifer'. “This is not a fight between good and evil. This is a fight between evil and evil,” Mohanlal's character in the film says.
The UDF adopted such a ploy when its top leaders on Monday described the League's malpractice as a kind of minor, negligible malfunction in comparison to the CPM's systemic failure. “The Muslim League will never support such a practice,” opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said here on Monday, nearly sounding like Narendra Modi who insists that Hindus can never be terrorists. “As for the CPM, they have been indulging in bogus voting right from the first elections like it were a ritual,” Chennithala added. The opposition leader, along with other top UDF leaders, was meeting the press after the first UDF meeting post the Lok Sabha polls.
Muslim League leader P K Kunhalikutty, seated near Chennithala, seemed hurt that his party was clubbed along with the CPM on the bogus voting issue. “This is something that had happened at the local level and the party will not stand in the way of any steps to punish the wrong-doers. The party, too, will take action at the local level. Ours is not the kind of party like the CPM that sanctions such actions from above,” he said.
Ramesh Chennithala pointed to Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Mullappally Ramachandran, who was elected twice from Kannur, and said that he was victim of the CPM's tactics for long. The KPCC president said it was common knowledge that the CPM alone carried out bogus voting as though it was party policy.
“Since I know Kannur quite well, I am yet to be convinced that the League leadership would ever goad its cadres to cast bogus votes. They don't do it even in their strongholds,” Mullappally said. Pleased by the argument, Kunhalikutty chipped in: “True. This is why no such charges are heard from places like Malappuram. Our party has never encouraged such behaviour.”
Nonetheless, the opposition leader lauded the fairness of chief electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena. “We fully support Meena's attempts to rid the elections of bogus voting,” Chennithala said. However, the KPCC chief hurled Meena a challenge. “The CEO should examine the webcast visuals of R C Amala UP School in Kannur's Dharmadom, the booth where chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan votes. If he can do it, it will expose the alarming extent to which the CPM can go to subvert the democratic process,” Mullappally said.