History was been repeated in Kerala’s assembly polls today. The day witnessed new history being made too.
Repeating Kerala’s familiar electoral pattern, LDF rode a huge red wave to come back to power after five years.
New history was created when the BJP won the lone seat of Nemom to make its sensational debut to the state assembly. In a contest that caught wide national attention, O Rajagopal, BJP’s veteran defeated the sitting member V Sivan Kutty of the CPM at Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. In the northern Manjeswaram, another saffron bastion, BJP lost out by a whisker.
The win is simply historic to the BJP as the state until now had remained out of bounds. Personally too, it is an ecstatic moment for Rajagopal (86). For, in his seven-decades-long political career, this is Rajagopal’s first ever win after having contested and lost almost all the past elections held in the state.
After Bengal recently, Kerala has become one more state where the BJP has ended its long dry run.
However, barring this solitary win, BJP’s hopes to make a dramatic show by riding the Narendra Modi wave, have once again been belied. BJP’s strong expectations in seats like Vattiyoorkavu, Palakkad, Manjeswaram etc have not come true.
This was despite the high-pitched and extravagant campaign led by BJP’s highest leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who came to Kerala thrice in the past two months. NDA could come second only in seven seats.
For the UDF, the result is certainly a heavy price they pay for their scam-filled five years in power. This is one of its electoral disasters in the last 60 years of state’s electoral history.
Congress has been routed in most districts except Kottayam. Muslim League, which was believed to keep its own turf safe, too has faced some shocks in Malappuram.
Obviously, the person who would have to explain most for the UDF rout is surely Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. For, never before was an election fought by the UDF almost entirely under the leadership of one man.
During the last five years in power, nobody had dared to defend the government to the height like Chandy even when serious scams rocked it. And in the case of some of the ugliest scams –like the solar scandal- Chandy himself came personally under a cloud but he couldn’t care less.
Chandy had no qualms to shield and justify his ministers even when they were caught pants down on various cases.
It was only common sense that the UDF would be made to pay a heavy price during the election for the spate of scams that dogged the government. It was with this in mind that KPCC President V M Sudheeran had strongly requested the Congress High Command to keep away all the tainted Congress ministers from contesting this election.
But a furious Chandy threw tantrums at this suggestion right in front of Rahul Gandhi and even threatened to opt himself out from contesting if any minister was denied ticket.
High Command had no other option but to bow before this and accepted Chandy’s diktat. Now, the results show that except Chandy and two others, most Congress Ministers had to bite the dust.
Chandy, once associated with the idealist stream in Congress led by AK Antony would surely go into history as the one responsible for pushing the party into the depths of moral decay during his innings as Chief Minister.
For the LDF, this is a hugely precious win after the series of setbacks it has suffered since the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The win helps the Left to get back one of the two states – the other is West Bengal- it lost in 2011.
As the Left has failed once again to win back West Bengal, certainly Kerala provides them much to cheer when its clout on the national scene has been at the lowest ebb.
However, what is to be seen is whether the intense factionalism in CPM will re-surface in the coming days when the next Chief Minister would be decided. With both the arch rivals -Pinarayi Vijayan and V S Achuthanandan- having won the elections handsomely and are very much in the reckoning for the top post, it would be no easy task for the party to come to a decision.
MG Radhakrishnan is the Editor of Asianet News
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:34 PM IST