2014 was the turning point for the UDF. After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the UDF turned out to be more lenient towards the LDF/CPM with regard to investigation into the T P Chandrashekharan murder case. Thereafter, we witnessed the LDF and the Congress becoming partners. This partnership that emerged in the post 2014 Lok Sabha elections contributed to the erosion of the Congress’s support base.
The 2016 victory of the LDF is mainly due to “anti-communist-CPM” vote consolidation in favour of BJP-NDA alliance. In 2011 LDF got 44.99 percent while in 2016 it was 43.42 percent . In 2016, the BJP alliance share went up to 14.65 percent from 6.07 percent in 2011. And UDF’s share came down from 45. 89 percent in 2011 to 38. 8 percent.
Historically, the relevance of the Congress and the UDF in Kerala has always had more to do with their capacity to counter Marxist-Communist parties. With the Congress – Communist partnerships both at the national level and in West Bengal, the UDF government was forced to be mild and extremely lenient towards the left.
Here, the NDA-BJP emerged as the countering force. In the coming days, it is likely to grow and expand its support base.
Businesses, traders and scores of youth entrepreneurs turned towards NDA, that otherwise have voted for the UDF. They want freedom from Hartals and Bandhs which have become routine in the state.
What is seen today, is the process of disintegration of the UDF.Leader of one of the smaller UDF partner, as publically stated by Mr. PC George, tried to become Chief Minister. UDF has political parties that do not share its common interests and ideology.
UDF lost one of its best opportunities to defeat the LDF, particularly at a time when common voters and youth are upset with incidents like T. P Chandrashekharan, other political killings and the CPM-VS Achutanandan’s stand on developmental issues and job generating investment projects.
Team Solar and the developments related to Sarita S Nair, meanwhile, were causes for celebration for the media and the opposition, during the time of Mr. Ommen Chandy. This is suggestive of how an entrepreneur would be treated in Kerala. Further, Indian democracy hit a new low when allegations surfaced about demand for bribe to waive tax proposals to suit certain business houses by then UDF Finance Minister. This deflated the credibility of the government and the leadership lost its fighting spirit. If one looks long and hard at the events, the allegations regarding payment for making changes in budget proposals was extremely serious, and with this, the UDF and the Congress lost all ethical standing.
The Left and the Janata Parivar thrived on anti-Congressism as one of their cardinal mobilizing ideas. They were together with JanSangh and later on with the BJP on a number of occasions. Left and Socialists together shared power with the Jana Sangh and the BJP at the center. They were allies in many states of India as well.
The Congress party’s partnership with the Left Parivar would weaken the party more. The eagerness being shown by the congress leadership to run after political allies and partners, with whom they cannot do business can only reduce the party’s muscle.
The NDA is emerging more acceptable and more inclusive. It has now allies from a broad spectrum of society. Indeed, what was more pronounced was the use of a communal polarization approach by the Marxist Communists. Just for instance, they fielded candidates looking at the communal polarization capability leading to victory. The TV journalist -turned politician Ms. Veena George, a Communist- Marxist candidate from Aranmula, successfully used her Syrian Orthodox identity to polarize votes in her favour. Communal polarization strategies, as long as that is being adopted by CPM or their allies, wont amount to communal politics but just a strategy to defeat communalism and fascism!