Kerala Assembly Elections | Votes for tackling the coronavirus

Effective COVID-19 management worked in favour of the LDF.

May 07, 2021 12:35 am | Updated 09:25 am IST

A health worker collects nasal swab samples from a man for a COVID -19 test at a mobile lab at Palakkad. File

A health worker collects nasal swab samples from a man for a COVID -19 test at a mobile lab at Palakkad. File

In 2020, Kerala was appreciated across the world for the manner in which it dealt with the pandemic. The national lockdown that was imposed in March 2020 left the daily wage labourers most vulnerable. To tackle the food crisis, the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left Front government in the State distributed food kits containing essential foodgrains and other items to all ration card holders in the State and also set up community kitchens across all panchayats. In the Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey, 94% of the respondents acknowledged that they had availed themselves of the facility of food kits at least once. Among them, most were satisfied with the kit with only 11% expressing some element of dissatisfaction (Table 1).

Even when the voters were asked to rate the overall steps taken by the State government to deal with COVID-19 over the last one year, 72% rated the steps as good. Another 21% rated the steps as average with only a small chunk (5%) according a bad rating.

image/svg+xmlTable 1:Did your household receive the free foodkits distributed by the government?Table 2:Did tackling the virus translate into votes?Yes94No3Chose not to avail ourselves of it3Rate the steps takenby the Stategovernment to dealwith COVID-19VotedUDFVotedLDFVotedNDAVotedothersVery good/good (72%)335782Average (21%)5516245Very bad/bad (5%)597323Satisfed with the food kits being providedFully/Somewhatsatisfed(88%)3750113Fully/Somewhatdissatisfed (11 %)6414193Note: Figures are percentages and may not total 100 due to rounding;the rest of the respondents did not answer the question. The fgures inthe parenthesis are the overall proportion of voters who said thatSource: Lokniti-CSDS post-poll survey in Kerala during the 2021 Assemblyelections

These kits along with other initiatives earned tremendous goodwill for the government and also translated into votes for the Left alliance. Close to six of 10 voters who had rated the steps taken by the government as good voted for the party (57%). A similar pattern was also seen among those who had availed themselves of the kit and were satisfied with it (Table 2).

The data also show that two-thirds (67%) of the respondents acknowledged that at least one of their household members is working in the Gulf. Of them, 92% said that their family members send money back home. The pandemic caused a massive reverse migration of workers from the Gulf back to Kerala. The LDF government made various arrangements and provided financial assistance to those who could not go back abroad due to the lockdown. The data show that a majority of these Gulf households were tilted towards the UDF in their voting pattern as they are mostly Muslim households. However, four in every 10 of these households wanted to give the LDF another chance.

The work done by the Left government during the pandemic was remarkable not only on paper, but also in practice as a majority of the voters had availed themselves of the benefits of the government’s schemes. This work surely translated into the LDF gaining people’s trust.

Vibha Attri is Research Associate, Lokniti-CSDS

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