These are the key in connection with the local bodies poll held in Kerala:
Karunakaran’s new party made headway under the banner of LDF (Left Democratic Front); BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) grabbed a number of seats in municipalities and panchayats; Influence of the UDF (United Democratic Front) led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy declined except in Kottayam and Malappuram.
Yes. A wind of political change is blowing over Kerala. LDF secured a sweeping victory and captured various corporations, municipalities and grama panchayats where UDF had their sway in the last local poll.
What is the ultimate outcome? It is that the job of UDF will be difficult in the ensuing Assembly elections in Kerala.
And what are the other key political points in the making?
The CPM-led LDF has bagged almost the entire state in the poll. But what awaits them for the Assembly poll is not yet sure even the CPM. Kerala’s political stalwart and former national leader of the Congress party K. Karunakaran used the election to show his might. He showed his party’s authority in Kerala by bagging a number of seats the LDF had awarded to them in the poll.
Moreover, Karunakaran’s party, Democratic Indira Congress (Karunakaran) – DIC (K) – contested alone in various wards as they failed to reach consensus with the LDF on seat sharing. And in the seats where it contested alone, DIC (K) proved its strength by bagging votes in hundreds. The LDF now clearly perceives the influence of the DIC (K) and learns that DIC (K) votes were vital in gaining majority in various local bodies. But what embarrasses the LDF now is that whether Karunakaran will be with them in the Assembly poll also or join hands with the Congress party to help UDF win election.
Such chances cannot be ruled out as there are no other leaders in Kerala like Karunakaran, who is an expert in politicking. And there have never been the dearth of ideas in him. It should be noted that Congress leaders from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala have been luring Karunakaran to the Congress party, saying that he was always welcome to the party.
It all depends, to a certain extent, upon the provision of posts to the DIC (K) in the LDF governing committees to be soon formed in local bodies. Karunakaran will never allow the LDF to sideline his party in the formation of governing committees in the local bodies. UDF suffered a setback mainly due to two reasons. One is the separation of Karunakaran faction from the Congress and UDF. The second is the anti-incumbency factor. The UDF government failed to showcase something special as their success.
The third factor is the ‘unholy alliance’ between the UDF and BJP in various wards, with the open support of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The Muslim League, which has been taking on BJP since the demolition of Babri Masjid, had to align with that party for the sake of the UDF.
But the ‘unholy alliance’ did not produce the desired effect as a large section of the Muslim League did not comply with the decision of its leaders to join hands with the BJP. Muslim League leaders were seen campaigning for BJP candidates in various places due to the seat adjustment. In various panchayats, there was no UDF candidate where BJP fielded its own candidate. And where the BJP had not fielded its candidate, it supported the UDF candidate.
But it was the BJP which actually benefited through its understanding with the UDF. In Koyilandy municipality, BJP increased its tally from one to two. BJP won a seat in Chengottukavu grama panchayat in Kozhikode district through the coalition.
Moreover, in an upset victory in Palakkad municipality, the BJP turned out to be the single largest party, pushing back the LDF and the UDF. It won four seats in Kanhangad municipality, three seats in Thiruvalla, the Christian heartland, and three seats each in Changanassery, Ottappalam, Kodungallur and Thalassery municipalities.
But the CPM has little to cheer actually since faction feud has become intense in the party between its leaders Pinarayi Vijayan and V. S. Achuthanandan. V. S. openly opposed to the view of Pinarayi that LDF was benefited by its bonhomie with the DIC (K). Moreover, some of the LDF partners are not happy with the inclusion of DCI (K) in the LDF as their interests get increasingly subsided.
Anyway, Kerala’s bipolar politics is likely to come to an end with the BJP and DIC (K) becoming the decision-makers. It is a change for good in the state. Haven’t the Keralites been fed up of the two political fronts, LDF and UDF?
Now let others come and speak.