Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Kerala Assembly Elections | Infighting, factional feud, personality politics plague Congress, CPI(M) and BJP

Mainstream political parties that felt secure at the start of the election campaign now seemed to be glancing nervously over their shoulders in Kerala.

The resentment over candidate selection has fuelled concerns about vengeful cross-voting in several key constituencies.

In varying degrees, Congress and CPI(M) face strife within their ranks over candidate choice.

The organisations saw party workers stiffly opposing the ceding of specific constituencies to coalition partners.

Both the parties seemed to have realised the electoral fight is anything but a straight forward set-piece battle this poll season.

Also read: Kerala Assembly Elections | LDF confident of 1977 repeat; UDF faces leadership hitch

Insurgency is threatening to undermine the electoral prospects of Congress and CPI(M) even as the traditional rivals in Kerala faced an asymmetrical threat from an emergent force, the BJP.

Congress, CPI(M) and BJP had attempted to seize the high ground early into the campaign.

Routine accusations, counter-charges and political hyperbole marked the embryonic phase of electioneering.

Consequently, the UAE gold smuggling case and the alleged misuse of central agencies to tarnish the LDF government dominated the poll narrative.

The initial phase saw a wave of anti-government against “backdoor appointments and keeping it in the family” postings”.

However, the familiar political attack lines and recycled debates faded into the background with the commencement of the seat allocation process.

Provincial sentiment, factional feuds and personality politics threatened to jeopardise the exercise.

CPI(M) workers in the Kuttiyadi constituency in Kozhikode rose in protest against the ceding of the seat to the Kerala Congress(M)

The absence of Kannur CPI(M) veteran, P. Jayarajan, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan, Industries Minister E. P. Jayarajan, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran, Law Minister A. K. Balan and Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan on the candidate list triggered poster and online campaigns against the CPI(M) leadership.

Also read: Kerala Assembly Elections | 5 Ministers, Speaker, 33 MLAs dropped from CPI(M) list

Congress candidate selection also ran into powerful headwinds. The party countenanced the challenge of possible rebels, or LDF backed party deserters in Pattambi, Chadayamangalam, Konni and Muvattupuzha Assembly segments.

It is not exactly smooth sailing for the BJP. Its leading partner in the NDA, the BDJS, narrowly survived a vertical split in February. A strong faction in the BJP appeared to revolt against State president K. Surendran over “sidelining” party veterans.

With the SDPI also fielding candidates in 90 seats, the Assembly elections in Kerala are unlikely to be an open triangular contest.

Coalition realignments, generational shift, infighting within parties and the rise of identity politics are likely to see the mainstream parties fighting on new fronts in Kerala with barely 25 days left for the campaigning to end.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 11:01:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/kerala-assembly-elections-infighting-factional-feud-personality-politics-plague-congress-cpim-and-bjp/article34063170.ece

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