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The writing on the wall for Kerala

The writing on the wall for Kerala

What is the pulse triggered by the people of Kerala through this election? What feelings have they expressed through voting? Will the parties and leaders be ready to learn, understand and make corrections for them? If the answer is yes, what should come prominently before them are Chandrababu Naidu from Andhra and Akhilesh Yadav from Uttar Pradesh stand as textbook lessons that political survival is possible even after severe rout. Otherwise, if everything goes on as before, there will be no other option but to end up in the deep pit of defeat in the future as well, as proven by the huge defeat of Kamal Nath in Madhya Pradesh and Mayawati in UP convinces. With the collapse of the inflated image of Modi, Kerala's political leaders will do well to remember what even the Prime Minister has now realized: that the voters of the country are patient enough to wait silently till the polling day to deal a blow to the ego of power. A vast ground has been set ready in Kerala for extreme right-wing. There is substance in the argument that the success of the BJP candidate in Thrissur was also due to stardom. However, it cannot be overlooked that the BJP is in the first place in 11 assembly constituencies of the state. While the vote percentage for LDF and UDF has gone down from what it was last time, NDA vote percentage has increased from 15.61 to 19.4. This election result has confirmed that the turmoil of religious and communal polarization is not just a virtual phenomenon limited to social media but has evolved into a physical force to redefine the spheres of power.

Earlier surveys like that of Lokniti had made notable observations about the number of floating voters in Kerala and changes in the political attitudes of the youth and women. But secular Kerala or political and social movements were not willing to adequately recognize or be seized of them. If the forces in Kerala continue to blame each other and show indifference, the politics of hatred will grab more than one seat in the legislature. As for the left front, the chief minister and the party secretary have publicly declared their readiness to study in-depth and correct the backlash against the Left. The Congress leadership also has made it clear that it is ready to learn from the defeat in Thrissur. If those words are sincere, then the search for a solution should begin with deliberations on how the political parties should confront the facts ranging from soft Hindutva mind-set to the spread of Islamophobia which float freely around. The trend of labelling the constitutional rights of the minority communities as appeasement, and interpreting their struggles against injustices and their role in such struggles as dangerous and extremism, is rampant in Kerala too. The ones who give currency to this are none less than the top echelons of established political parties and community leaders! All religious and community leaders have been at the forefront of using anything from the criminal acts of individuals to the love between two people as fuel for polarisation. The fakes deliberately injected through WhatsApp groups of religious and caste groups have enabled the forces of far-right acquire the strength to alter the equations of power. And if it is not possible to reverse this, all other corrective processes will go in vain.

If the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Chief Minister can read the strong anti-incumbency sentiment and disagreement with the Chief Minister's style of functioning from the people's verdict, they can bring the estranged people's hearts closer. People read arrogance into the robustness given by continuity of power, orgaisational machinery and its wide reach. The fact that the Home Department in Kerala is steered not by the Chief Minister but by Amit Shah's police is not just trolls in cyberspace but a harsh criticism by fellow Leftists themselves. There is also a strong perception that this government is incapable of solving the primary needs of the people who struggle for their daily needs. In short, if the Left front decides to implement a corrective process, it will have to start with a radical transformation of governance and party systems. On the other hand, the UDF also needs to understand that despite the weakness at the local level, they were able to win a spectacular victory as a result of the anti-incumbency sentiment. If they lull themselves into the notion that the anti-fascist sentiments of the minority community will always translate into votes in their favour, and keep away from a clear political course, the coming Assembly elections will be the Waterloo of the Congress. Then there will be no party left at the grassroots to stage a come-back and no people to hold the flag. If they are prepared to learn correctly from experience, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu hold solid political lessons for both UDF and LDF.

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TAGS:EditorialBJP winLok Sabha Election 2024LDF and UDF
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