With the Oommen Chandy government ending its tenure in May 2016, the state of Kerala goes to elections again this year. Over the decades, power has changed hands between the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) at regular intervals in the state. In the last assembly elections held in April 2011, the UDF subjugated the LDF by a slender margin of four seats.
Parties & Alliances
The leftist LDF and the centrist UDF happen to be the two major alliances which have formed government in Kerala from time to time. Besides these two traditional rivals, the BJP has emerged as a major challenger in the state. The party did not have any presence in the state before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Its alliance with the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) and Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) is expected to help the BJP get support from Ezhavas as well as other backward communities.
Issues in the State
Recently, Kerala’s Finance Minister K.M. Mani was found embroiled in the bar bribery case. The case is critical to the ruling alliance’s fortunes in the upcoming Assembly elections. It also brings to the fore the pressures within Congress party to reconsider its policy curbing the sale and consumption of liquor in the state to prevent youngsters from drinking and destroying their lives.
Violence against women is also a serious issue in Kerala, especially in its rural areas. In spite of doing well in all social indicators, Kerala’s society suffers from a patriarchal mindset. Dowry and casteism are serious social evils. The state also has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. The suicide rate is higher among adolescents and families.
Candidates in the Fray
The Congress party, which is the lead member of the ruling UDF alliance in Kerala, is finalising its list of candidates for the coming Assembly polls. Chief minister of Kerala and chairman of the ruling Front, Oommen Chandy said that the list of UDF candidates will be announced by the first week of April.
The BJP has decided to field senior leaders of the party. It has declared candidates for 22 of the total 140 constituencies. BJP state chief Kummanam Rajasekharan is going to make his electoral debut from Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram. Former Union minister O. Rajagopal will contest from Nemom constituency of Thiruvananthapuram district.
The CPI(M) plans to field at least one woman candidate in every district this time. The onus is on other LDF allies to do the same in order to increase their female representation in the elections.
An opinion poll conducted by C-voter has indicated that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) may clinch power in the coming Kerala assembly elections. Ruling party UDF is set to be ousted from power as it is projected to win 49 seats only. The LDF is likely to make a comeback by winning 89 seats in the 140-member Assembly. There’s a minor chance of the BJP-led front winning one seat.
Elections will be held in a single phase on May 16.
|Communist Party of Indian (Marxist) (CPM)||45|
|Indian National Congress (INC)||38|
|Muslim League Kerala State Committee (MUL)||20|
|Communist Party of India (CPI)||13|
|Kerala Congress (M) (KCM)||9|
|Janata Dal (Secular) JD(S)||4|
|Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)||2|
|Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)||2|
|Socialist Janta (Democratic) (SJD)||2|
|Kerala Congress (Jacob) (KEC)(J)||1|
|Kerala Congress (B) KEC(B)||1|
|Kerala Revolutionary Socialist Party(Baby John) (KRSP)||1|
Kerala Assembly Elections in May 2016
- BJP’s new-joinee and former Indian cricketer Sreesanth, who is contesting Kerala Assembly Elections from Thiruvananthapuram, got trolled for calling Kerala a city.
- Gulf remittances to Kerala dropped to a four-year low of $14.9 billion (Rs. 1 lakh crore) in the third quarter (October-December) of 2015-16.
- The LDF government promised to take steps for reducing the availability and consumption of liquor gradually, if it comes to power.
- BJP inclined on bringing PM Modi and BJP national President Amit Shah to address some of the 70 rallies to be held by the party.
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