N S Sajith
AN explicit wave in favour of the Left Democratic Front is visible across Kerala where the assembly elections are going to be held on April 6. The leadership and rank and file of the LDF are confident of making a historic victory through re-election of an incumbent government. As LDF is certain of mobilising the people to victory, the opposition UDF seems aimless and is making false allegations against the government. Their anti-people posture has also been exposed as the leader of opposition filed an appeal with the Election Commission for a stay order on the distribution of kits of essential commodities for Vishu and Easter celebrations.
The opposition front has been shattered due to infighting in the Congress. Its senior leaders like P C Chacko, national spokesman, P M Suresh Babu, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary, and K C Rosakkutti, former MLA, are among those who quit the Congress and became part of the LDF campaign trail. Lathika Subhash, former president of the Mahila Congress, resigned from all party positions after she was denied a party ticket and she expressed her wrath against the party leadership by performing a ‘mundan’ (tonsure) before the doors of their party state headquarters.
The LDF, through systematic organisational efforts, has got an edge in mobilising the people right from the booth-level meetings to the rallies attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other leaders. Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary and Polit Bureau members, Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Brinda Karat also attended massive public meetings. At the same time, the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah could not trigger the confidence of BJP workers. Apart from this, many Congress leaders had resigned and many of them became candidates of the BJP. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also gave a poor show in the UDF campaign meetings.
The LDF was successful in finalising the candidates and starting the campaign much earlier. The main poll issue was nothing other than the development made by the LDF government. The unholy alliance of the UDF and the BJP has also become a matter of discussion as nomination papers of three candidates of BJP were rejected by the concerned returning officers. Film actor Suresh Gopi, BJP candidate in Thrissur constituency, openly appealed for ensuring the defeat of A N Shamseer, LDF candidate of Thalasseri, where BJP is not contesting due to the rejection of nomination papers. He also said that IUML leader KNA Khadar must win in Guruvayoor where BJP candidate’s nomination paper was rejected.
The opposition has been trying to divert the attention of the people to the non-issues like the Sabarimala verdict, throughout its campaign. The motive behind this effort was to conceal the developmental and welfare activities of the government and its care during floods and Covid-19. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan challenged the opposition for a debate on development during this government and previous government. “We are in the last leg of election campaigning. Kerala wants to know if the opposition is willing to discuss development and welfare, if they would dare to compare their performance in 2011-2016 with that of ours over the last five years. Are you ready, leader of the opposition?’’ he asked.
This challenge put by Pinarayi has exposed the ulterior motives of the opposition parties to scuttle the comprehensive development of the state. He also questioned the opposition's rigid attitude during the dark days of pandemic and floods.
The LDF is heading towards the state assembly elections with a government that has won numerous awards for its welfare activities and good governance. The Pinarayi government stood as a rock and shouldered the responsibility of supporting the state in overcoming the despair and gloom spread by disastrous floods in consecutive years, the Ockhi cyclone and the outbreak of Nipah virus.
The chief minister and his cabinet have the satisfaction of having led Kerala in conquering hunger and ensuring shelter and livelihood for its people. The opposition and sections of the media take pride and revel in slandering the recognition won by the state government in recent times. However, it has not affected the goodwill gained by the LDF among the masses.
The local body elections showed that there is a strong sentiment in the minds of the masses against the divisive forces that are seeking to derail crucial development projects in the state. The UDF has always acted in consonance with forces that threaten the unity of the people in facing unexpected disasters and developmental issues. They are backed by the corporate companies that strongly oppose the Left alternative in development policies. This anti-communism that is rooted in the interests of capital is being advanced through their own media companies. The BJP government at the centre is hell bent on disrupting the development of the state, be it financial institutions for funding such as Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) or innovative new projects such as Kerala Fibre Optic Network (KFON).
Congress leaders are now batting for the intervention of central investigative agencies that have been used throughout the country by the BJP against combative state governments. As a result, it has become of principal importance that those who seek the progress of the state and its people forget sectarian differences and stand united with the LDF and ensure its victory.