- M.Rajesh,News Director,CNM
Most of the pre-poll surveys are random studies and nothing to do with actual verdict of the election. Many such surveys proved wrong in the previous elections,too. However,there are some trending lessons we can learn from these surveys.
In Kerala, as usual many pre-poll surveys have come out thanks to television news channels and other media houses.And,in the first phase surveys,ruling LDF front under Pinarayi Vijayan had an edge over rival political fronts, United Democratic Front led by Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and National Democratic Alliance led by BJP state unit president K.Surendran. When majority of the surveys came in favor of the ruling front,LDF camp is in a victorious mode.And,the rival fronts in desperation if they don’t express it in public.
In the second phase,other pre-poll surveys revealed tight fight between the two fronts for absolute majority to form government in Kerala. as per these findings there would be a photo finish in many constituencies and this may reflect in the over all state poll outcome.
And,BJP will stand as a strong third alternative with few seats.This time BJP led NDA will definitely improve its position.The third alternative may show bigger impact in Kerala politics.Metro Man’s entry and candidature has given a powerful edge to BJP in this election.Independent voters have been wooed by E Sreedharan’s presence.
Surveys can never reveal absolute truth since the verdict depended on many factors,other than superficial chit- chats among the public.But,frankly speaking there are some pointers and hints that might reflect in surveys. Let us leave surveys there and approach Kerala voting pattern and behavior,in an independent manner.It is no wonder if BJP becomes second position in at least few constituencies.Anyway BJP’s campaign is definitely a challenge to bothe the ruling front and the opposition.
Is there anti-incumbency?
The first question comes in every independent political analyst is whether there is anti-incumbency or not.In the previous assembly polls,there were many such anti-incumbency trends that shook the ruling front and lost the race in the assembly poll,even if the government implemented many welfare schemes in a transparent manner. Oommen Chandy government’s mass contact program was one of the massive relief activity, However,in the election result UDF lost as there were many scandals including solar case,bar bribery cases.
In this time also there is anti-incumbency among youth,especially educated young voters who are active job-seekers. Back door appointment of party workers and leaders really shook the Kerala youth. They are ready to give a fitting reply to the Left government’s nepotism and backdoor appointments in government jobs.
However,there has been not a big anti-incumbency in Kerala like previous polls.
Infrastructure developments;’Captain”s challenge
The LDF government has taken stern actions in infrastructure development especially the construction of roads and bridges,widening of national highway,construction of bridges etc. Usual red tapism and ‘roadblocks’ are removed and many projects have been implemented in atime-bound manner. Kannur International Airport,even if it was the initiative of the previous government ,Pinarayi government gets the credit of finishing the project.As the ‘captain’ of the left government in Kerala,Pinarayi Vijayan is still confident in his words and actions through out his public meetings.He even challenged the UDF team in developmental activities during his tenure.He released a data through twitter which compares his government’s development schemes and the previous UDF government’s.
Development in education and health sectors,humanitarian approach to migrant laborers,call for self-sufficiency in agriculture segment,directly made by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan are noteworthy initiatives.
The state government’s ,especially the health ministry’s timely intervention and updates on Covid-19 pandemic also gave good mileage to the LDF government.
Gold smuggling scandal,ED and other central agencies’ probe in and around Chief Minister’s office is definitely a black mark.Many projects had to withdraw when the opposition leader exposed corruption in deals.Some of these corruption cases are being investigated by central agencies.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has raised many issues.He exposed many scandals and corruption cases against Pinarayi Vijayan and his government. In that sense he is an aggressive opposition leader.Many of his revelations shook the ruling front in at least few occasions.And,the government had to withdraw its earlier stands.But in long run,the opposition could not use it for poll strategy.
Aiswarya Kerala Yathra had given good mileage to the UDF in the beginning.The same leaders made things worst in the selection of candidates.
Another noted matter in UDF camp is people’s mandate and Nyay project.The opposition party directly interacted with people in different walks of life before finalizing its manifesto.Many welfare schemes have been included in the manifesto which stands apart from other promises.
Welfare schemes and support during Covid-19 times
Whatever be the failures and bad governance on the part of the ruling LDF government,support system the government implemented,quickly and directly to the people at a time of crisis is praiseworthy.People had a sense of belonging when the government disbursed welfare pensions and grocery kits,promptly.
The situation was entirely different.When people were confined to their homes during continuous lock-down period,such relief activities on the part of the state government was undoubtedly compassionate and humanitarian.
Big failures;repeated blunders
Sabarimala temple and Lord Ayyappa is extremely sensitive for millions of Malayali. When the Pinarayi government compromised the sanctity of Sabarimala ,the forest shrine popular among millions and millions of Ayyappa devotess across the globe,the action really hurt the sentiments of these people,irrespective of their politics and religion.Activism in the abode of celibate God in the name of renaissance and the follow up program,’Women’s wall’ was definitely a wrong decision on the part of the state government even in the name of implementing SC order.The government’s weak documentation and passive stand made things worst in Sabarimala case.
Neck and neck fight in many constituencies
With the mass entry of Congress’s star campaigners Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi brought a new energy in UDF camp.Major coalition partner IUML is working hard to win this battle.Failures in selection of candidates in at least few seats,rejection of winning seats to Mahila Congress leader Lathika Subhash,issues in Wayanad district and indefinite delay in announcing Elathur candidate also made things worst in Congress party.Weak organizational set up and lack of grass root level work during poll time still stands as a set back in UDF camp..
Kerala Congress Jose K Mani’s LDF entry
The induction of Jose K Mani’s Kerala Congress party into LDF camp is not a good decision. As it believed,the new coalition may back fire the front.During the previous assembly poll,the left had attacked Jose K Mani and his party on the grounds of corruption. Independent voters will ask how did such a politician becomes ‘holy man; once he enters into LDF front.Kerala independent voters think twice before they utilize their votes.And,these independent voters will decide the future of these three fronts in Kerala.Any way,the poll outcome will be different from previous polls.No party will get thumping victory. Narrow margins constituencies and slight majority in over all vote share are possible outcome of Kerala assembly poll 2021.as per an independent last time analysis.