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

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Kerala Elections 2021

Mandate for Social Egalitarianism and Deepening Left Democratic Alternative

The victory of the Left Democratic Front in the elections to Kerala legislative assembly needs to be contextualised within certain key social and economic developments that the state witnessed in the last five years. While doing so, certain narratives that have emerged in the media about possible factors responsible for the LDF victory need to be critically engaged with.


The victory that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) could achieve in Kerala in the recently concluded state election is supposed to catch the attention of political observers for a variety of reasons. First of all, after the debacle of the left in West Bengal in 2011 and its loss of power in Tripura in 2018, the electoral prospects of the left in India had been largely written off by many (Yadav 2019). They were justified to an extent as it is natural to feel that if strong left bastions in West Bengal and Tripura could fall, their fall in Kerala, a state where the left has been coming to power only in alternate terms, is just a matter of time. But, the politics in Kerala has taken an interesting turn, with the electorate of the state deviating from a pattern that had been prevailing in Kerala for more than four decades. Whereas anti-incumbency had been more or less a permanent feature of Kerala elections, this time the state witnessed a strong pro-incumbency wave, bringing the ruling LDF back to power with an increased majority.

This, naturally, should lead to a revisiting of the epitaphs written for the left and is expected to trigger probes on why left politics remains attractive to the people in Kerala. Furthermore, the left parties continue to constitute the only political bloc in India that has been consistently criticising the neo-liberal economic policies and promising a set of alternative policies that will provide relief to the people. Even though the feasibility of implementation of such an alternative economic policy, while working within the framework of the present system has been a matter of debate within the left, especially in the context of West Bengal where an urge for rapid industrialisation led the left to a position of at least partially accepting the neo-liberal model, the development model that the left could establish in Kerala has continued to stand out. The uniqueness of the Kerala model of development has once again become a matter of discussion against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic (Heller 2020; Roy and Babu 2020), and is being increasingly juxtaposed with the neo-liberal trickle-down model that most of the states in India follow.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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