Kerala

Left strategy trumps over caste game

A bus passenger greeting K.U. Janeeshkumar at a victory rally taken out by LDF workers in Konni town on Thursday.

A bus passenger greeting K.U. Janeeshkumar at a victory rally taken out by LDF workers in Konni town on Thursday.  

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NSS support to UDF has worked to the ruling front’s advantage

The Left Democratic Front’s strategy to experiment with fresh faces and challenge the caste and community equations being religiously followed in candidates’ selection over the years seem to have yielded rich dividends in the byelections held to the State Assembly.

Without offering any room for confusion, the front named its candidates, most importantly youngsters, in Vattiyurkavu, Konni, Aroor and Ernakulam and clinched the early bird advantage.

The Nair Service Society’s decision to offer explicit support to the United Democratic Front (UDF) eschewing its equidistant policy, considered its strength, also seems to have worked to the advantage of the LDF, especially in Vattiyurkavu and Konni, which have been billed as traditional NSS strongholds. The move appears to have prompted a strong polarisation of votes of other communities in favour of the LDF.

Members disillusioned

The decision reportedly made without taking NSS Karayogams, the local units, into confidence is understood to have disillusioned its members. For, the NSS is considered an organisation that accommodates members of diverse political affiliations. The leadership could not proffer a convincing reason for shifting to the new `right distance’ strategy too.

The goodwill V.K. Prasanth earned as Mayor in the capital and the appeal other LDF candidates had among young voters, who are a force to be reckoned with, also tilted the scales in favour of the LDF.

The confusion in the UDF and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camps over candidate finalisation deprived them of the edge they perceived to wield in all segments, especially after the performance in the last Lok Sabha elections.

Group squabbles in the State BJP, the reluctance of senior leaders such as general secretary K. Surendran to contest either from Konni or Manjeswaram, which he had lost for a negligible margin in the 2006 Assembly elections, and the simmering differences of opinion with the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena spoiled their prospects.

LDF a cohesive unit

Unswayed by the reversals in the Lok Sabha elections, the LDF functioned as a cohesive whole and braved the attempts of the UDF and the BJP to lend caste and community overtones to the election campaign.

The front also succeeded in winning the confidence of those who preferred young candidates beyond caste and community preferences.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 9:35:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/ldf-strategy-to-challenge-community-equations-wins/article29787171.ece

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