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

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Kerala Elections

With reference to the article “Mystery of the Kerala Poll Results” (EPW, 28 May), it needs to be pointed out at the outset that the statement “Never before has a ministry taken office with such a slender majority” is factually incorrect. The first communist government in Kerala had the support of only 65 legislators in a house of 126 seats, 60 were communist legislators and five were communist supported independents. That government was remarkably stable and the best e fforts could not engineer defections. It was later dismissed by the centre under Article 356 of the Constitution.

A factor that contributed to the Left’s better-than-expected performance in 2011 which defied the electoral trend of 2001 and 2006 could be the absence of antiincumbency. The Left Democratic Front government faced no major corruption scandals and performed well in the social sector. The management of the state’s finances was creditworthy and there was no treasury closure during the previous five years. Neo-liberal reforms resulting in large-scale land eviction were haltingly slow in Kerala due to interventions from groups and persons including the chief minister. The Left was punished twice, in 2009 and 2010 (Lok Sabha and local body polls) for national and local reasons; the ire of the people had cooled down.

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