He could achieve continuity in power which many CPI(M) veterans could not do
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has been able to break the jinx of rotating power between the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the State for the last 44 years.
Mr. Vijayan could achieve continuity in power which CPI(M) veterans such as E.M.S. Namboodiripad, E.K. Nayanar and V.S. Achuthanandan could not do.
Mr. Vijayan, who became the 12th Chief Minister on May 25, 2016, thus gets the rare privilege of the mandate till 2026.
Some of the governments rejected by the voters over the last 64 years had performed reasonably well, but faced ouster nonetheless. Luck also did not favour Pattom A. Thanu Pillai, R. Sankar, K. Karunakaran, A.K. Antony, P.K. Vasudevan Nair, C.H. Muhammad Koya and Oommen Chandy who were Chief Ministers of the State.
“Present mandate is a second instance of continuity in power in Kerala and that too after a gap of 44 years. The earlier one was in 1977 when the same coalition was returned to power,” says G. Gopakumar, noted political scientist and former Vice Chancellor, Central University of Kerala.
Kerala has the routine habit of change of regime, be it the Communist or the Congress in the beginning, the LDF or the UDF subsequently. “It is a typical approach of the electorate for change of coalition government after every election. Bipolar competition became very keen and close. However, this time with active participation of three fronts, continuity of power was mandated by the people,” Dr. Gopakumar said.
Effective management of crises such as the pandemic, floods and other viral diseases which shook the body politics of Kerala during the last five years was the main factor. Dr. Gopakumar says the effective distribution of welfare doles, including free food kits, to all sections and old age pension for the poor are the other factors.
The unity and consolidation of the LDF compared to the UDF helped to get another term. He says split in anti-incumbency votes between the UDF and the NDA-led BJP and consolidation of 45% vote was easily translated to 99 seats in a triangular contest.
Unlike in the past, Dr. Gopakumar says minorities were not behind the UDF and a sizeable majority of Christian and Muslim voters had shifted to the LDF. The strong anti-BJP posture of the LDF might have attracted Muslim votes and the presence of KC(M) attracted Christian votes in Central Travancore and elsewhere.
The political scientist does not suspect any danger in the continuity of power. “Given Kerala’s hyper critical nature and deep media penetration, any attempt to overplay authority into dictatorship will be challenged at the political and legal circle,” he says.
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