Understanding Kerala Politics Ahead of Assembly Elections 2021

For the past four decades, Kerala has witnessed only anti-incumbency when it comes to its government.

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Podcast
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Kerala will head to its first and only phase of Assembly polls on 6 April. However, the complexity and significance of this state election are not understood by many. Today's episode intends to eradicate this confusion.

For the past four decades, Kerala has witnessed only anti-incumbency when it comes to its government. The baton has been passing between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) which leads the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) since 1982.

And Kerala is not unique in this. Its neighbour, Tamil Nadu, had the same trend for 32 years until former chief minister Jayalalithaa broke the trend in 2016 by winning consecutive elections. Rajasthan too has been alternatively electing Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party governments since 1993.

But what makes Kerala different is that even though the CPI (M) and the Congress are the major parties in the two fronts, both hold a combined vote share of just over 50 percent. And this is due to multiple alliances these parties have.

Alliances matter a lot in Kerala and unlike in Tamil Nadu, where the two major parties DMK and AIADMK perform better than their alliance partners, both the CPI(M) and the Congress in Kerala are equally vulnerable to losing against smaller allies as well.

And Kerala is seeing another trend right now. Surveys have projected that the current Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan of the LDF may just come back to power in the forthcoming election.

According Mr KP Sethunath, a senior journalist, the former bureau chief for the Deccan Chronicle and my guest for today’s episode, Kerala politics can be described like a game of tennis. So let's see how this tennis match between the LDF and UDF is going so far and how are the players on both sides of the court are faring so far.

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