Kerala election: BJPs new friends muddy waters for LDF, Chandy fights anti-incumbency

              No dominant theme in Kerala campaign, spats on social media common. While the UDF is banking on development, LDF is desperate to make a comeback. The BJP hopes to open its account

AFTER a long and high-pitched election campaign in Kerala, 25 million voters are now set to decide the fate of three major stakeholders in the state.

While traditional political rivals — the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF — have taken turns to rule the state for decades now, the sudden intrusion from the BJP, which threatens to play spoiler, has made the polls in Kerala a crucial face-off.

Read MoreKerala elections: Transgenders vote for the first timeExit polls: BJP unseats Congress in Assam, LDF ousts UDF in Kerala; Mamata retains WB, Jaya goes from TNElections 2016: 71 per cent voting in Kerala, 81.94 in Puducherry, 69.19 in Tamil NaduKerala polls: BJP’s new front keeps LDF, UDF guessingKerala election: BJP’s new friends muddy waters for LDF, Chandy fights anti-incumbency

In at least two dozen constituencies, the BJP has drawn the LDF and the UDF into triangular contests.

While the ruling Congress-led UDF is hoping to beat anti-incumbency on the plank of development and welfare measures of its government, the CPI (M)-led LDF is desperately looking to make a comeback after a string of electoral debacles. The BJP, still recovering from the defeat in Bihar and Delhi, hopes to open its account in the southern state.

Despite the bitter campaign though, there was no dominant political theme. The state’s liquor policy, corruption charges against the government, the murder of a Dalit girl and the Prime Minister’s Somalia remark all triggered a war of words between rival parties but no issue managed to stick on for long. Even agrarian and civic issues were put on the back burner, and verbal spats on social media were common. As voting day arrives, no party seems to have an edge.

The outcome of the polls is crucial to the survival of the CPI (M), both in the state and at the national level. Since the Assembly elections in 2006, the electoral prospects of the CPI (M) have hit a rough patch. The party lost the Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the Assembly elections in 2011 and could not register a comeback in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the state either.

Its years out of power have also cost the CPI (M) crucial allies. A large proportion of the Hindus in the state, which formed a big part of its vote bank, seem to be tilting towards the BJP since it assumed office at the Centre.

The Congress-led UDF has Muslims, Christians and other minorities as its main vote base. While Christian votes remain largely with the UDF, both the CPI (M) and Congress have been vying for Muslim voters, by accusing each other of having a secret deal with the BJP.

Although Hindus constitute 54 per cent of the state’s population, the BJP has failed to send a single legislator to the state Assembly. But since the 2014 general election victory, the party’s prospects in the state have been improving. The alliance with the recently formed Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) which represents the Ezhava community, the single largest Hindu segment in Kerala, has helped the BJP further.

A large chunk of Ezhavas had been voting for the CPI(M) till now, but with the BJP in the contest, the equations could change. If the BDJS helps the BJP gain in the election, it would be the beginning of new caste politics in state.

WATCH INDIAN EXPRESS VIDEOS HERE

Comments

  • Related News
  • Congress nominates AK Antony for Rajya Sabha election from Kerala.

    Congress state president, V M Sudheeran, on Saturday said the party has decided to field Antony as the candidate for RS elections.. A K Antony

    Former Defence Minister A K Antony will be the Congress candidate f...

    India 2016-03-05 11:30:49

    Situation did go out of control govt takes collective responsibility for any lapse: Captain Abhimanyu.

    During the agitation, properties, establishments and a house owned by Abhimanyu’s family were also torched by protesters in Rohtak. . Haryana Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu at The Indian Express office in...

    India 2016-03-05 10:10:50

    Govt failed to anticipate scale of stir, says Haryana minister on Jat quota agitation.

    He added that the government has taken “collective responsibility” for the absence of an immediate administrative response to prevent the situation from getting out of control.. Haryana Finance Minister...

    India 2016-03-05 04:21:11

    Environment agencies cavalier, force courts to intervene: CJI.

    CJI Thakur said the Supreme Court would have had little role to play had the government agencies been doing their job properly.. Chief Justice T S Thakur

    WITH PRIME Minister Narendra Modi and Environment Minist...

    India 2016-03-05 04:17:44

    Assam board exam answer-sheets gutted in fire.

    Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Vasant Vishal Solanki said preliminary inquiries did not show any apparent sign of accidental fire occurring due to an electricity short circuit. .

    The Assam government Friday ordered...

    India 2016-03-05 04:13:41

    Sukma: 3 CRPF men killed in encounter with Maoists.

    Officials said while two commandos, identified as constables Linju N and Fateh Singh had succumbed to their bullet injuries on Thursday, their collegaue Lakshman Singh died on Friday..

    Three CRPF personnel have...

    India 2016-03-05 04:10:33

    Gujarat Quota stir: Man takes own life to make govt wiser.

    Upleta town also observed a bandh while its major villages like Bhayavadar and Moti Paneli remained shut as well..

    Upleta and Dhoraji towns of Rajkot remained shut on Friday to mourn death of a youth who had al...

    India 2016-03-05 04:00:30

    Asaram case: SC declines to order CBI probe into missing witnesses.

    A bench of justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh Goel said it could be raised before the Allahabad High Court as complaints on it have been lodged in Uttar Pradesh. . Asaram Bapu

    The Supreme Court Friday declined to ...

    India 2016-03-05 03:57:26

    Several complaints later, HRD Ministry moves to sack Pondicherry varsity V-C.

    Sources said the HRD Ministry has decided to process Krishnamurthy’s case as it has given her enough opportunity to present her side of the case.. Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani.

    Emboldened by the Presid...

    India 2016-03-05 03:53:23

    Old meets new in riot shadow: pro-minority seen as anti-national.

    Today it’s India vs Pak within country, not just on borders, says BJP MLA.. At a refugee camp in Muzaffarnagar. Express archive

    In Muzaffarnagar, BJP-ABVP have taken out no marches on the JNU issue so far...

    India 2016-03-05 03:47:43

     .

    When I leave office, I will speak of it more freely: Arvind Subramanian. Gives examples from history

    How a country deals with its social divisions plays a major role in the trajectory of its economic developmen...

    India 2016-03-05 03:41:56

    Inquiry clears her but Leftist Allahabad University student head faces exit.

    While the report concludes that Singh’s seat should have gone to a reserved candidate, it makes clear that the “mistake” was committed by university staff involved in the selection process.. The i...

    India 2016-03-05 02:50:19

    The more Rohiths you kill, more will emerge from every house: Kanhaiya Kumar.

    Kanhaiya Kumar: "I am not a politician, I am a student. I have no intention of joining mainstream politics or contesting any election." . JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar with the union Vice President Shehla Rashid a...

    India 2016-03-05 02:30:35

    Indian nun among 16 killed by gunmen in Yemen; victims handcuffed, shot in the head.

    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj urges Indians in ‘such danger zones’ to return home . Security forces at the retirement home in Aden, Friday. (AP Photo)

    An Indian nun was among 16 peopl...

    India 2016-03-05 02:24:43

    Sexual harassment case: Delhi HC dismisses plea to cancel R K Pachauris bail.

    The court said that "very cogent and overwhelming circumstances" were necessary for an order of cancellation of bail which has already been granted.. The court said while granting relief to R K Pachauri, the trial ...

    India 2016-03-05 02:08:04

    MP: House panel to help students deal with exam stress.

    Stressing on the need of moral education, yoga and meditation, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said sports period will be made compulsory in schools..

    Madhya Pradesh Assembly Friday unanimously decided to form a House...

    India 2016-03-05 01:54:46

    Bihar: Oppn attacks Nitish govt as Tej Pratap skips House session again.

    When JD(U)’s Phulwari Sharif MLA Shyam Rajak asked a question as to why the sex ratio in Bihar was increasing, rural development minister Shravan Kumar stood up to answer. .

    The Opposition BJP Friday targ...

    India 2016-03-05 01:52:48

    After PA Sangmas death, 7-day mourning in Meghalaya.

    In Shillong, where the Meghalaya assembly’s budget session had just begun, Speaker Abu Taher Mondal broke the news after Governor’s address and adjourned the House for the day..

    The demise of Meghal...

    India 2016-03-05 01:46:04

    Sumitra Mahajan recalls PA Sangma: He would try wit, humour and silence, whichever way it worked.

    After he ceased being the Speaker, Sangmaji never used his erstwhile position to seek time in the House for speaking.. PM Narendra Modi, Sumitra Mahajan pays last respects to former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma at ...

    India 2016-03-05 01:40:41

    PA Sangma: Remembered, an important voice of the Northeast.

    Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other party leaders today condoled the death of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma.. Former Lok Sabha speaker P. A. Sangma

    Terming his contribution in the deve...

    India 2016-03-05 01:23:38