Factors that led to LDF's historic victory in Kerala, lessons for others

The CPI(M)-led LDF won the 2021 Assembly elections in Kerala, and surpassed its own expectations, winning 99 out of the total 140 seats.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan
Written by:

Kerala’s Left Democratic Front (LDF) had been reduced to a single seat in the state’s 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Only Alappuzha stood with them, while the remaining 19 out of 20 constituencies were won by the United Democratic Front (UDF). Just two years later however, there has been a role reversal. The CPI(M) won the 2021 Assembly elections and surpassed its own expectations — winning 99 out of a total 140 seats.

And the main factor that helped Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan win two successive elections (2020 local body polls and the 2021 Assembly elections) is the people-friendly measures the Kerala government has taken.

Pro-people policies

Pinarayi, who took over the post of Chief Minister in 2016, had to face many crises in 5 years. However, his daily press meets, social welfare schemes and constant reassurances helped the LDF connect with people.

The distribution of the welfare pensions was uninterrupted during the pandemic, ensuring a monthly income for many vulnerable people. For the elderly and the poor, the regular pension boosted their confidence and esteem. Of the total 2.74 crore voters, 73.48% were female voters and this could be seen as a direct testimony to how people-friendly policies translated into votes during elections.

The free grocery kit distribution through rations shops during the pandemic has had a direct impact on people, especially the working class, as many had lost their livelihood during the lockdown. During his press meets, Pinarayi has emphasised that no one should starve because of the lockdown.

Secular image

When it came to the Sabarimala issue, the Congress shared similar views to the BJP and both the parties made it an important aspect of their election campaign in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the 2020 local body polls, and the 2021 Assembly elections.

The CPI(M)’s defeat in the 2019 election was widely attributed to their stand regarding the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala shrine. The Sabarimala issue led to a turbulent social situation that has no parallel in the recent history of the state.

However, the Assembly elections showed that Congress’s stand on Sabarimala did not resonate with people in the long run. The Congress’s opinion on the matter confused many who considered the party to be secular. Losing at both the local body polls and the Assembly elections proved that the Congress miscalculated how the government’s stand on women being allowed entry to Sabarimala would be taken by the people. The Left on the other hand strengthened its secular image.

Pinarayi also took on the BJP-led Union government on the Citizenship Amendment Act saying that secularism shouldn't be compromised on and that the Act wouldn’t be implemented in the state. Pinarayi even held a joint protest with the Opposition against the CAA, and moved a resolution in the Kerala Assembly against the Act.

Upholding federalism

“Thank you Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Let us continue to work together upholding the true spirit of cooperative federalism and our constitution,” Pinarayi tweeted in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulating him on his election victory.

“The people of Tamil Nadu look forward to being active partners in rebuilding this great country and reinstate the values of federalism into our public discourse,” Stalin said. 

Pinarayi has never been afraid to raise his voice whenever the Union government has attempted to tamper with federalism. This was also seen when he questioned the transfer of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Fund to the Centre's consolidated fund and criticised the Union government's ban on beef

Also read:

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute