Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said, arguably in a non-literal sense, that the deities of the land would bless the Left Democratic Front (LDF).
The government had stood with the people and succoured them during the catastrophic floods and later the COVID-19 pandemic. He said, seemingly metaphorically, that Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of Sabarimala temple, would favour the government because it had taken care of the people. Other religions also backed the ruling front, he said.
Journalists had mobbed Mr. Vijayan when he came out of the polling booth at the Dharmadom constituency in Kannur. He said the LDF would coast to victory.
The accusatory tactics of the Congress-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘axis’ had failed at the hustings in the local body poll in 2020. The “stale lies” would make no difference in the Assembly poll, the Chief Minister said.
The LDF would ride to victory on the crest of a wave of popular support. It would close the BJP’s account in Nemom. The BJP had no chance in Malampuzha. If Congress cross voted, then the BJP might increase its vote share in some unexpected regions. The ruling front would improve its standing in the Assembly, Mr. Vijayan said.
Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala mocked Mr. Vijayan for invoking the name of Lord Ayyappa. He said after voting in Haripad in Alappuzha that Mr. Vijayan had trampled on Ayyappa devotees’ faith. The Chief Minister would face “their wrath and the disfavour of the diety”. Mr. Vijayan stared at “sure defeat”. He was “fearful” and had “invoked Ayyappa out of sheer desperation”, Mr. Chennithala said.
The UDF would coast to victory, he claimed. The people would punish the LDF’s “arrogance and corruption”. The UDF's manifesto had resonated among the masses. It had defended the Sabarimala faith and also agitated against the Centre's patently anti-minority Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The CPI(M) was riven with internal fighting. Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan was resentful that the party had denied him a seat. Rebellion was brewing in the party against Mr. Vijayan. An election defeat would catalyse the party's disintegration, Mr. Chennithala claimed.