By Sunil K Poolani
On a recent visit to Kerala, in south
Even before the final formation of the Kerala state, the then political parties, whether the Indian National Congress or the undivided Communist Party, had individual identities, say nationalism or class struggle — reasons that ensured them a loyal mass support.
People’s commitment to ideological polity was one of the reasons why Keralites preferred to elect communists through the ballot box, a maiden event in world history. Also, some sort of commitment from the opposite camp led to Vimochana Samaram, or liberation struggle, which led to the ouster of the first communist government.
Coupled with commitment, rich general awareness and high literacy levels made Kerala a role model, an example of how polity can influence and affect common life; for a Keralite, ideological politics was something more important than basic amenities. The result, though of no consequence in the long run, was revolutionary: the Land Reforms Act, high education and literacy, low death rates and above all public awareness.
Now, decreasing value politics, dirty alliances and the redundancy of the very existence of political parties have led to a situation where educated Kerala electorate, who have enough time to spare at their hands thanks to chronic unemployment and reluctance to do manual labour, are left ideologically abandoned.
Kerala does have the history of not consequently electing a government — whether it is the United Democratic Front (UDF) or the Left Democratic Front (LDF). But that definitely is not the reason why the electorate would prefer the UDF over the LDF, or vice versa. The reason is that more Keralites do not find any reason why a party with a philosophy like communism, which is almost non-existent worldwide after the effete putsch in the erstwhile
And in Kerala’s case, after the death of AK Gopalan, Krishna Pillai and
That doesn’t mean the UDF is above suspicion. If at all the Congress-led front came to power it was either due to the disenchantment towards the communists, or, mainly, because the ideology-lacking UDF meant business — whichever way one takes it. People, of course, realise that the Congress in Kerala, to live up to the name it has carved elsewhere, has institutionalised corruption and if elected they’d repeat what they were always good at: enjoying the fruits of power.
-- Mint / Oman Tribune