How LDF is setting the stage for Kerala Assembly polls

How the CPM-led Left Front is setting the stage for Kerala Assembly polls

The Left Front has given prominence to young members of the alliance parties, gaining support of the youth

Representative image. Credit: PTI Photo

Giving a communal tag to the political opponents, rolling out a slew of welfare measures, and now wooing the young voters who dominate the electoral rolls, the CPM-led Left Democratic Front seems to be way ahead in setting the stage for the Assembly elections set to happen within five months in Kerala.

The upper hand received by the Left Front was quite significant as there were a series of serious allegations against the ruling Pinarayi Vijayan government like nexus with gold-smuggling accused, CPM top leader's son's arrest in drug peddling related case and corruption allegations.

Having received a shot in the arm with the local body election results, the CPM has started setting the stage, aiming for a second term for the Left Front in Kerala, which is quite crucial for the CPM also as Kerala is the lone state where the party is in power now.

Giving prominence to youngsters in local body positions is the latest step in this regard. Apart from making a 21-year-old college girl, Arya Rajendran, the mayor of Thiruvananthapuram city, several youngsters like another 21-year-old, Reshma Mariam Roy, who was the youngest contestant in the local body polls in Kerala, were given prominent posts. Reshma was made president of the Aruvappulam panchayat near Konni in Pathanamthitta district.

As per the current voters' list, of the 2.6 crore voters in Kerala,1.6 crore are in the 18- 49 age group, which comes to around 63 per cent. Hence by giving prominence to youngsters, the CPM hopes to make considerable influence among the young voters who dominate the electoral rolls.

Veteran political analyst B R P Bhaskar said that even as being young was neither a qualification nor a disqualification for being elevated to key posts, the CPM's present move was indeed sending a political message to the youth and it may help in influencing the young voters. However, what matters is the performance of the youngsters who get the key posts. Experience is a key factor, he said.

Another political analyst, Joseph C Mathew, said that even as the decision to elevate youngsters received much attention for the CPM, only time will tell the intentions behind such decisions, whether it was a compromise candidate or whether the aim is back-seat driving. He also feels that age alone should not be the parameter for appointments to key posts as experience does matter. Even in all political parties, among the veteran leaders, there are many with very youthful and sharp perspectives, he said.

The foremost political move of the CPM, especially Vijayan, soon after the local body polls was to take advantage of the unrest in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) by accusing the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)  of dictating terms to Congress. Later on, CPM leaders have termed IUML as a communal party. With this, the CPM seems to be trying to distance the secular vote base of Kerala as well as the Christian vote banks from the Congress-led UDF.

The Left Front had attributed the upper hand it received in the local polls, despite the adverse political scenario, to the welfare measures the Vijayan government initiated, especially free ration to all during the lockdown, housing scheme for poor, and enhancing social welfare pensions that touched the people at the grass-root levels. Hence the government already announced extending free ration for a few more months, enhanced welfare pensions by Rs 100 each, and announced that 50,000 more jobs would be created. The upcoming budget, which would be the last budget of this government, might also see a slew of welfare measures aiming at the elections.