the pandemic did not alter the political consciousness of the Keralite voter.
Kozhikode With all political fronts keeping their fingers crossed, the results of the three-tier local body polls in the State, to be declared on Wednesday, are certainly going to be a template for the Assembly polls due in another four months.
The turnout of the electorate in the polls conducted in three phases at 78.64% reveals that the voters defied the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown and an unprecedented economic crisis. That the pandemic did not alter the political consciousness of the Keralite voter.
Incidentally, all coalitions — the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front, Congress-led United Democratic Front and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance — faced the elections in an ambience of political chaos. Whatever be the outcome, it will bring more clarity on the three political formations.
A heightened electioneering has shown that from now onwards a tri-cornered contest would become a reality in the State. The multipolar divide will set off the future elections in the State.
For the LDF, even if with its rainbow coalition comprising the new entrants Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) and the faction led by Jose K. Mani of the Kerala Congress (M) it manages to secure 50% of the seats, it means that the anti-incumbency factor has worked against the State government. In 2015, the LDF almost swept the local body polls.
Undoubtedly, the outcome will also sound the alarm bells for the CPI(M) ahead of the Assembly polls. And the journey will be uphill unlike the downhill that happened in the 2016 Assembly polls.
For the UDF, the Lok Sabha polls last year gave the coalition the hope of a comeback after it failed to weather the onslaught it experienced in the 2015 local body polls. Its performance in the Assembly polls in 2016 caused dismay for various reasons. However, it remains to be seen whether the UDF can take the positive effect of the results of the polls to the next level of electoral politics, specifically the Assembly polls.
For a party starting from a low base, the BJP may be breaching enviable cosy turfs of both the fronts in the local body polls. Its flanking strategies to take both of them in a bipolar polity however will be tested in a bigger electoral space, in the Assembly elections.
At the same time, no Kerala voter will want to witness a hung Assembly, when a three-cornered contest takes off.