Poll outcome delivers blow to LDF, BJP in Kerala

The BJP, which wanted to open its account in the State, could not reach anywhere near the finishing point

The Lok Sabha election results have rendered a severe blow to the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which was hoping to win an impressive tally, and dashed the hopes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that had claimed to open its account in the State.

The LDF was forced to be content with one seat, Alappuzha. The ruling coalition lost its traditional bastions such as Alathur, Palakkad, Kannur, Kasargod, Vadakara and Attingal. While the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) got one seat, the CPI drew a blank. Right from the launch of the campaign itself, the LDF had been expecting to retain at least three seats in the south, and sustain its unchallenged supremacy in north Kerala.

Major swing

The Left parties were expecting a minority consolidation in their favour, especially to overcome a consolidation of Hindu votes that they expected in the wake of the strident stance maintained on the Sabarimala issue. But the hard Hindutva line adopted by the BJP and the candidature of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad seems to have set the ground for a major swing in minority votes across the State in favour of the United Democratic Front (UDF), which gained 19 out of the 20 seats.

Sabarimala issue

An introspection and thorough review of policies and strategies of the front on crucial issues has become imperative. The CPI(M) would have to seriously explore whether there was an erosion from its vote bank with regard to its stance on issues like Sabarimala, and also whether the LDF as a whole was able to reap the best results of a clutch of welfare and development initiatives that the State government had take up during the past three years.

The Front that had been expecting a groundswell of support from the minority, Dalit and other backward communities in support of its position on the Sabarimala issue, will have to find out whether they have reciprocated as expected. The front would again have to open the vestibule for talks with organisations such as the Nair Service Society, different denominations of the Christian community, and others, for winning their confidence well before the local body election that’s due next year.

BJP rudely jolted

The results gave a rude jolt to the BJP that had claimed to register a resounding win in four segments billed as A Plus — Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Palakkad — on the strength of the Sabarimala agitation it launched in the name of a Sangh Parivar construct, the Sabarimala Karma Samithy.

But for increasing its vote share in certain Assembly segments in these constituencies, the BJP could not reach anywhere near the finishing point. This was in spite of a high voltage Hindutva line it adopted, aiming at a strong polarisation of Hindu votes. Even in Pathanamthitta, party candidate K. Surendran had to be satisfied with a poor third at 1.30 p.m., when the counting was still progressing.

Fear psychosis

The diatribe of BJP president P.S. Sreddharan Pillai against Wayanad, comparing the constituency with Pakistan, and other such pronouncements of prominent leaders, whipped up a fear psychosis among minority communities. It eventually forced the minority community to vote for the Congress it deemed as a natural bulwark to the BJP.

The setback would yet again trigger schism in the BJP, and also lead to a war of words in the coming days for its organisational failure in making use of the opportunity to open its account from the State.

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