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

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Decisive Vote for UDF in Kerala

Two factors that influenced the election outcome in Kerala were the anti-incumbency wave against the National Democratic Alliance government at the centre and the Left Democratic Front government’s hasty decision to implement the verdict of the Supreme Court on Sabarimala temple. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s attempt to exploit the temple issue in the election against the LDF government failed due to the strong sentiment against the BJP-led NDA government in Kerala. Hence, the United Democratic Front received a bigger advantage in the election owing to its soft policy on the temple issue as well as its being seen as an alternative to the NDA government at the centre.

An impressive victory for the United Democratic Front (UDF) in Kerala in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections once again indicates the unique political culture of the state. By voting against the national trend, Kerala retained its unique political identity. When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made big waves in almost all states in India, its attempt to open its account in Kerala remains elusive. The victory of the Congress-led UDF in 19 out of 20 seats was also a setback for the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led LDF, which won the assembly election in 2016 with big margins. There were not many contentious issues which directly affected the performance of the LDF government in Kerala. However, the verdict of Supreme Court on lifting the ban on the entry of women into Sabarimala temple and the hasty decision of LDF government to implement it had provoked an uproar from the public. Similarly, the anti-incumbency wave against the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government was a serious issue in Kerala, as noticed in the National Election Study (NES) 2019 survey. In fact, the election verdict in Kerala was the outcome of many factors, mostly against the NDA government led by Narendra Modi. Likewise, the role of minority religious communities and caste groups is also crucial in explaining this verdict.

In the 2014 general elections the UDF had won 12 seats, overcoming the anti-incumbency wave, leaving only eight seats to the LDF. However, in the 2016 assembly elections, the LDF secured 91 seats while the UDF finished with 47 seats and the BJP opened its account by winning one seat. The remaining seat went to an independent. Since the bipolar coalition politics in 1982 the UDF had the advantage over the LDF in the Lok Sabha general elections, save in 2004. However, both the fronts alternately ruled Kerala since 1982. Two notable sweeping election verdicts, other than 2019, were in 1977 and 2004. In the post-Emergency 1977 general election the Congress–Communist Party of India (CPI)-led coalition won all the seats. Likewise, in 2004 the LDF secured 18 seats, and the UDF had to remain content with one seat, and the remaining one went to NDA coalition.

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Updated On : 6th Apr, 2021
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