Kerala

Congress in a Catch-22 situation

The Congress party appears to have been caught in a political quandary over the proposed 10 % reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) proposed by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government.

Senior party leaders are struggling to take a concrete stance on the issue which many believe is a googly thrown by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) -led Left government during the fag end of its term. The predicament of the party is visible when leaders have been airing multiple views on different occasions.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mullappally Ramachandran says his party favoured an amendment to provide quota to the deprived sections of the forward communities, but wanted the State government to wait till the Supreme Court gave a verdict on it.

Even while blaming the government for trying to drive a wedge between different communities, the Congress leadership has left the matter to be decided by its political affairs committee. At the same time, it has been trying to placate its main ally, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which has been opposing the new quota policy.

Trapped by two contradictory conditions, the leadership feared losing traditional votes of Hindu Nair community and Syrian Catholics, which have been rooting for reservations for EWS categories. Already the Syro Malabar Church has flayed the ambiguous stand of the Congress- led United Democratic Front (UDF).

An analysis of the previous polls showed that the Congress has been losing a section of voters especially the Nair community even when the State has been witnessing a trend of alternating governments. One of the reasons is the emergence of the BJP in the State's polity.

The shift in the social base of parties was witnessed in the previous Assembly polls of 2016 with LDF garnering more votes of the Nair and Ezhava communities. Incidentally BJP came second in getting the votes of the Nair community in the three-way split of their votes.

Likewise the Christian and Muslim communities, the traditional vote base of the UDF, have also been shifting their voting preferences to the LDF. However, these trends were completely reversed in the Lok Sabha polls of 2019 when the UDF won 19 out of the 20 seats.

Nevertheless it remains to be seen how the voting pattern of the Ezhava community turns out, which more often backed the LDF in the Assembly or Lok Sabha polls, in the wake of the proposed EWS reservation.

The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam has termed the proposal as politically motivated.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 10:29:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/congress-in-a-catch-22-situation/article32973909.ece

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