Thiruvananthapuram: As widely anticipated, the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) returned to power in Kerala, defeating the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Assembly Elections held in the southern state on May 16, 2016.
The LDF victory has not come as a surprise, as the alliance has met the expectations of replacing the UDF every alternate year in Kerala.
Here are the key reasons:
Corruption: The involvement of Congress in a number of corruption and sex scandals had already tilted the elections in favour of the LDF. The bar bribery case and solar scam had made it difficult for the Congress to save its face. Also, 92-year-old VS Achuthanandan's clean image helped the CPI-M veteran lead his party to victory in Kerala. He was undoubtedly helped by the tainted image of the outgoing Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. "This is a vote against the corrupt and those who failed to protect the dignity of women," said Achuthanandan.
Anti-incumbency: A strong anti-incumbency against the current United Democratic Front (UDF) government also helped the LDF wrest power in Kerala.
BJP's emergence: There are significant caste as well as religious dimensions that determine the outcome in Kerala. This year, the emergence of the BJP led to new trends in Kerala's political scenario. Despite the fact that the BJP cut into the votes of the CPI(M) by wooing the Ezhava community, the LDF managed to pull off a victory. The credit again goes to the BJP because the upper caste Nair votes majorly shifted from the Congress to the right-wing party. In short, the BJP ate more into the Congress' votebank than LDF's. Also, apprehensive of the emergence of the BJP, a section of the minority community switched sides from UDF to LDF. This was witnessed in the municipal polls.
Anger over rape: The brutal rape and murder of a Dalit law student in Kochi last month worked against the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala and in favour of the LDF. The case gave a chance to the LDF to hit out at the UDF's slogan of “development with care”. It also helped the LDF eat into the UDF's central Travancore vote bank.
Unity: Putting behind the VS Achuthanandan vs senior leader Pinarayi Vijayan as chief minister issue, the CPI(M)-led LDF aggressively campaigned for Kerala Assembly Election 2016. The rest is now history.