ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changing Voting Behaviour in Kerala Elections

In Kerala, a state with its time-tested social and political tradition which seeks to bind all sections of people together, irrespective of religion or caste, the emergence of the National Democratic Alliance as an alternative to the two mainstream political fronts had its repercussions among a section of the minorities. The fluctuation in the voting preferences signals the crisis the Left Democratic Front is facing. Except for the extremely poor, all other socio-economic groups, including Dalits, Other Backward Castes, the lower classes and the younger generation, are highly volatile and are changing their political preferences, depending on the unfolding social reality.

The Kerala assembly elections signalled a notable change in the voting behaviour of the electorate, that is, voters of all vintages have shifted their allegiance from one front to the other. While a section of the Hindus have migrated from both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a significant portion of the minorities has crossed over from the UDF to the LDF. The NDA has punctured the starched sanctity of bipolar politics, which has been in vogue in the state ever since 1957, by opening its account in the assembly for the first time and enhancing its share of votes considerably, from 6.06% in 2011 to 14.64% in 2016. Further, this election also buried the hopes of many small parties and splinter groups such as the Democratic Kerala Congress, a breakaway faction of the Kerala Congress (Mani)—KC(M), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Janata Dal (United)—JD(U), Indian National League (INL), and Communist Marxist Party (CMP), to name a few.

In the run-up to the election all the three fronts waxed eloquently about their vision of future Kerala and elaborated the same in their election manifestos. Further, for the sake of instant communication with the mass of the people, services of advertisement firms were also used and a condensed version of the vision was presented in the form of slogans.1 For the UDF this was “development with care” and for the left “development without corruption and a society free of communalism.” Meanwhile, the NDA stated that it stood for “focused and inclusive development” (Anil Kumar 2016). Thus, for all the major political actors “development” seemed to be the primary concern. Interestingly, the electorate decided, overwhelmingly, to throw their lot with the LDF and the outcome of this was 91 out of total 140 seats for it, with 43.42% votes.

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Updated On : 30th Mar, 2021
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