Both fronts recently released their manifestos for the assembly polls to be held on May 16

Old wine in old bottles LDF UDF and their stale promises
Voices Kerala Polls 2016 Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 20:33

While LDF harps about a corruption-free secularly developed Kerala, it is ‘health, hearth and grub’ for all from the UDF-end. But go through their election manifestoes, and you soon realize it’s simply old wine in new bottles, with promises galore.

The next five years seem to have many big things in store for Keralites. Going by their tall claims, the homeless are sure to have a shelter of their own irrespective of whether they vote for the LDF or the UDF.

While farmers would get Rs.1000 as pension under a UDF government, LDF would ensure a minimum daily wage of Rs 500. 25 lakh people would get employment under the LDF while the UDF would reduce the unemployment rate to four percent.

Luckily for both fronts, at this stage they do not have to delineate how exactly they intend to go about it. Infoparks, Start-up villages and exclusive IT corridors sound so good on paper but the sad reality is many of these are yet to lure major IT giants into setting up offices here.

You also cannot but help notice that LDF seems more realistic on the liquor front with its gradual phasing out of alcohol through awareness camps while UDF continues to stick to its guns for an alcohol-free Kerala within a decade.

This at a time when six more hotels were just the other day given licenses to operate bars by the ruling front!

So we have both the Left and the UDF covering the entire gamut of Kerala society with their wish-list of all that would get done in case they are voted to power. But despite Kerala being a cent percent literate state and one of the most politically conscious states in the country, the district and state administrations here are yet to figure out how to deal with rising piles of untreated garbage and toxic waste, increase in the number of stray dogs, eternally dug-up roads, perennial water-shortage and unscientific implementation of planning and development.

Leftists may very well point fingers at the ruling front saying that the Chandy-led government has literally downgraded Kerala by a decade but then there are many wards, corporations and panchayats which are under the rule of the Left and still no different from the rest of Kerala.

Commitment to address transgender issues by the Left is indeed commendable, but none unfortunately are convinced. A couple of bumper lotteries on the anvil by the UDF could rake in the moolah for the government but whether it would actually translate into houses for the homeless or agricultural benefits for the farmers could well be another dream in limbo.

The BJP being a recent entry into Kerala’s hitherto bipartisan political scenario can for now safely free itself from all the muck that gets thrown around in terms of inept administration and corrupt politicians. Yet it may well be a matter of time before they too become one among the accused to drain Kerala of its socio-culturally and economically progressive society.

As well-known political analyst Advocate Jayashankar points out: “You really think these manifestoes mean a thing to the people. They have been hearing the same things over and over again since 1950. ‘Roti, Kapda aur Makan’, ‘Gareebi Hatao’ are old stuff…why even the BJP is yet to build the Ram temple at Ayodhya. So other than ornamental value in the pre-poll scenario, election manifestoes do not signify anything to anyone.”

So with attractive front covers and loads of minutely printed proposals on how the next five years would treat Kerala, the manifestoes of both fronts continue to remain beautiful, unfulfilled dreams on paper.



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