Rainbow coalition, social engineering helped LDF


A well thought-out political strategy coupled with some social engineering mechanism appeared to have helped the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)]-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) defy the anti-incumbency in the State.

More than what churned out the spectacular victory of LDF albeit riding on the constructive popularity of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was a combination of factors, including the rainbow coalition comprising 11 constituents, that was successfully experimented in the three-tier local body polls in December.

The entry of Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and the Kerala Congress (M) and the formal induction of Indian National League (INL) have helped the LDF in the Assembly polls similar to that in the local body polls.

Nevertheless, the CPI(M) leadership knew in advance that to profitably achieve the first past-the-post in a three-cornered contest it would have to tweak its voter base along with the goodwill generated through social security measures and distribution of food kits through ration shops.

Voting patterns in the just-concluded elections showed that party heavyweights although secured huge victory margins, many sitting legislators and fresh faces failed to either maintain the lead in the previous polls or managed to scrape through. The vote-share of the party dwindled in many winning segments in Kannur, Kozhikode and Palakkad districts and massively in Alappuzha and Kollam districts.

The party wise vote-share of the CPI(M) stood at 25.38%, the Congress 25.12% and the BJP 11.30 %. Incidentally, the vote-share of the CPI(M) was 26.7%; Congress 23.8% and the BJP 10.6% in the 2016 polls.

A consolation to the CPI(M) is that the party secured the support of a large section of the Christian community even while stalling the erosion of its core vote-share of the Ezhava community. A December Facebook post of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan against the Congress party that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) seem to control the United Democratic Front (UDF) gave an impetus to the Hindu consolidation in favour of the LDF.

The statement of Nair Service Society general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair rooting for a Congress-led government turned out to be counterproductive with a section of Nair community rallying behind the LDF. This they read with the entry of IUML leader P.K. Kunhalikutty and dominating the State polity.

At the same time, the LDF also secured the votes of Muslim community that traditionally votes for the LDF candidates and also in constituencies where the BJP might emerge successful in the Assembly polls.



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