Kerala

State poised for a turbulent Assembly polls

Kerala is apparently poised for a turbulent Assembly polls, of a kind perhaps never witnessed before. Between the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), it is a no-holds-barred battle. But it is the challenge posed by the BJP against the two main adversaries that is likely to influence the outcome in a large number of Assembly segments.

With the political scenario undergoing a change, the LDF is eyeing a return to power riding on the steady support of its coalition partners. But the UDF hopes for a comeback by parading Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in its campaign. The BJP-led NDA is banking on the rock-solid cadre base of the RSS and the rising support of voters among Hindus and a section of Christians.

The 2019 Lok Sabha polls favoured the Congress coalition, while the 2020 three-tier local body polls gave an advantage to the Left parties. These elections may have served as a template to the oscillating electoral prospects of both the fronts for the Assembly polls that work at different matrices.

In the 2016 Assembly polls, the LDF secured 43.48%, UDF 38.81% and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) 14.96% of the vote share. Except the BJP, which increased its votes by 8.93%, the LDF and the UDF lost 1.63% and 6.97% respectively when compared to the 2011 elections.

Incidentally, of 140 seats, the LDF bagged 91 seats, UDF 47 and NDA 1 and the remaining one, fetched by P.C. George, as Independent.

A tectonic shift in terms of voting loyalties and 11 cohesive partners coming together increase the confidence of the LDF which is aiming to continue in power for the next five years. The allegations of a series of scams failed to put the Left government down in the December three-tier polls. But what worries the front is the unemployment statistics plagued by backlog posts, regularisation of temporary and contract staff, and the recent allegations of foreign trawler scam.

The Congress will have to galvanise itself into organising its political affairs effectively to create a new electoral agenda. The State leadership believes that the electioneering of Rahul- Priyanka witnessed in the Lok Sabha polls would be strong enough to stave off Pinarayi Vijayan's re-election bid.

The BJP's continuing support among Nair and Ezhava community voters threads through different mathematical calculations that emerged through various issues such as Sabarimala and the controversial "love jihad" theory.

But the benchmark for victory for all fronts will be unpredictable against the grim backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing social unrest sparked off by religious and casteist pressure groups in the State.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 4:45:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-poised-for-a-turbulent-assembly-polls/article33949688.ece

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