Unlike in the past, mainstream political parties in Kerala have apparently got into a preparatory mode for the Lok Sabha polls in 2024.
Both the major coalitions -the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M]-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) - as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have started to competitively devise long term strategies for the elections.
This competitive long-term planning is based on the premise that the polls are not going to a 100-metre dash but a cross country marathon. Voters are notoriously fickle, they require constant care. Or else, any sudden religious or political upheaval, like the Sabarimala verdict in 2018, can prompt them to change their mind., sources said.
Thus, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the ruling LDF lost all but one of the 20 seats in the State. Perhaps why the CPI (M) leadership had successfully navigated the fickleness of the voters in the three-tier local body polls in 2020 and then went on to alter the electoral history of the State in the Assembly polls of 2021.
The recently held five-day CPI (M) leadership meet saw the party reviewing the performance of the Ministers of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government and initiating steps to rectify their shortcomings.
The CPI(M) leadership knows very well that the loyalty of its cadre can no longer be taken for granted. The phenomenon of shifting mandate has also worried the coalition partners, sources said.
Devoid of power in Kerala's see-saw voting pattern, the new Congress dispensation will also have to prove that it can relentlessly mount a formidable challenge to keep the government on its toes till the Lok Sabha polls and in the Assembly polls of 2026.
Already the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee has started a control room at the Indira Bhavan for the upcoming Bharat Joda Yatra led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi beginning from Kanyakumari on September 7.
With its cadre-driven status, national dominance, and popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP is keen to replace the multi-layered bipolarpolity in the State. Till now, it has only flattered to deceive.
Its leadership has identified six constituencies including Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, and Palakkad for the general elections and has engaged the RSS and its affiliates to lay the groundwork for this purpose.
However, going by poll outcomes recently, what might it mean for LDF, UDF and BJP, is anyone's guess.