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Kerala’s Changing Political Landscape

By P. Sreekumaran


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision of the Janata  Dal(United) to part ways with the Congress-led United Democratic Front(UDF) and join the CPI(M)-headed Left Democratic Frot(LDF) will drastically alter Kerala’s political profile.


The LDF camp is understandably jubilant over the politically significant development. As for the JD(U), it is a home-coming of sorts for the party after a gap of eight years.


The JD(U) move will, undoubtedly,  strengthen the LDF especially in the Malabar region as the party has sizable influence in districts like Wayanad, Kozhikode and Palakkad.


JD(U)’s entry will also enhance the appeal and acceptability of  the LDF, encouraging more parties from the UDF to switch sides. And it is an open secret that more constituents of the UDF, like the Revolutionary Socialist Party(RSP), are unhappy about the style of functioning of the UDF team captain, Congress.


It is against this backdrop that the appeal of CPI(M) leaders in particular  and other LDF leaders in general to other constituents of the UDF to leave it and hop over to the LDF bandwagon, has to be viewed.


Conversely, the LDF’s gain is the loss of UDF. Although the UDF leaders publicly  claim that the exit of the JD(U) won’t have any appreciable impact on the UDF’s stability and cohesion, in private they admit that it cannot but weaken the front, already enfeebled by the exit of the Kerala Congress(Mani).


The UDF leaders have none  to blame except themselves for their political  discomfiture and embarrassment. It is the steadfast refusal of the UDF leadership to address the JD()U)’s concerns which has forced the latter to leave the front.


For instance, it is an open secret that the JD(U) was unhappy about the sharing of seats prior to the last assembly elections. The party feels, rightly so, that it was allotted unwinnable seats, denying it at least a few seats where the party’s chances of winning were bright.


Again, the JD(U) was also cut up with the UDF leadership for its failure to act against the Congress leaders who openly campaigned against JD(U) chief MP Veerendra Kumar when he contested from the Palakkad Lok Sabha constituency.  The report prepared by a committee named by the Congress itself had mentioned the names of the party leaders who sabotaged Veerendra Kumar’s election campaign. But, despite repeated reminders, the Congress leadership refused to punish the ‘guilty’. This was a source of irritation for the JD(U) which accentuated its sense of victimhood.


Another reason why the JD(U) has decided on changing the front is its reading of the political situation in the state which has taken a distinctly pro-left tilt over the years. The JD(U) firmly beliees that the LDF is better prepared to fight the forces of communalism growing in strength across the nation. The JD(U) also thinks that being a party with a socialist orientation, it must join hands with the leftist forces to build a pan-India front against the RSS-BJP combine.


Although both the LDF leadership and JD(U) leaders deny any deal, it is more or less clear that the JD(U) will, most probably, get the Rajya Sabha seat vacated by party chief Veerendra Kumar  in protest against the JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s  aligning  with the BJP at the national level. (IPA Service)


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