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

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Faltering UDF, Rising LDF and the Unknown Factor of the Third Front

Kerala Elections 2016

The ruling United Democratic Front's chances of coming back to power in the forthcoming elections in Kerala seem bleak, while a resurgent Left Democratic Front is gearing up to form the government. However, the Bharatiya Janata Party's showing in the 2015 local body elections may be the uncertain factor in the calculations.

When the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by Congress leader Oommen Chandy came to power in Kerala in 2011, the first question most people asked was how long his government would last. However, with a slender majority of three members, the UDF has managed to survive five long years of trials and tribulations. For this, it owes thanks first to Chandy himself and, second, to the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the CPI(M). Chandy’s political acumen in managing a ministry comprising around half a dozen parties taking a dozen different political positions, and in dismantling the innumerable political revolts and uprisings emanating from inside and outside the ruling front, was there for everybody to witness. The main opposition party, the CPI(M) has always taken an ideological and tactical stand that rules out toppling any government by engineering defections.

If we go by the pattern in Kerala’s past, it is a safe bet that in 2016 the Left Democratic Front (LDF) will come back to power. This is because, ever since 1977, neither the UDF nor the LDF has been re-elected to office. The Oommen Chandy ministry, which has miraculously completed its five-year term, had hopes of breaking this pattern considering that it has been winning all the elections held in the state since 2011. However, after the elections to the local bodies in November 2015, the situation has changed. The UDF had fared satisfactorily in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Soon, however, its image was tarnished as it got entangled in controversies related to the sensational 2013 “solar scandal” which had been on the fringes for the past three years but has taken centre stage recently.

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