Friday, May 20, 2016

Kerala Elections – Random Thoughts

Kerala does not have the tradition of re-electing a government.  So yesterday’s poll results would not have surprised anybody.  Moreover, the UDF government was steeped in corruption charges. 

Kerala Results in a nutshell
Yet the Pala constituency re-elected K. M. Mani who faced serious allegations related to the bar scam.  The people of Pala are neither ignorant politically nor blind in their allegiance to Mr Mani.  Mani has done much for the people of his constituency.  He has intimate relationships with the Catholic church which is a strong force in Pala.  People benefit one way or another if Mani is in power.  That is the secret of Mani’s success.  It has nothing to do with any ideology.

P. C. George who rebelled furiously against Mani’s corruption and became an enemy of both the UDF and the LDF because of his undiplomatic forthrightness and bravado won as an independent candidate from Poonjar, Mani’s neighbouring constituency.  George’s victory indicates that what people really care for is not the Party but the Person.  George is a person with strong mass support because he is a man of the people.  Nobody who approaches him with a grievance will leave his office disappointed.

UDF’s P. J. Joseph won with the largest margin (45,587 votes) from Thodupuzha, a town which has witnessed much development because of him.  His victory shows again that even the people of Kerala will re-elect you if you do something worthwhile for them.

Eldhose Kunnapilly of UDF makes his debut entry to the Kerala Assembly because he has made a mark as a social worker while he served his term as the District Panchayat President.  People voted for service. 

In short, it is not really the party that matters in Kerala; it is what the leader does for the people. 

Jayalalithaa’s victory in Kerala’s neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu also illustrates the same principle.  Amma is certainly not above taint.  Yet she won comfortably because she had extended a lot of support to the poor people in various ways some of which may be scoffed at by the affluent as cheap gimmicks or mere populism.  For the starving man, a cheap meal at a low-cost canteen is as good as god.  Amma became a goddess in the state which still has a sizeable section of the population grappling with poverty.

Nationwide, the BJP is buoyant because of its landslide victory in Assam, “opening its account” in Kerala, and, above all, because of the rout of Congress everywhere.  The Congress deserves its present fate because it had lost touch with people.  It’s not enough to visit the poor in their huts and have tea with them, as Rahul Gandhi did for some time.  People must benefit in concrete terms.  As pointed out above, those leaders who really did something concrete for the people won in Kerala and such people can win anywhere.  So the lesson that Congress has to learn is clear.

Source: The Hindu
The Left atop a 'Right' building
The NDA fared miserably in Kerala whatever the statistics may say.  Vellapally Natesan, whom the BJP espoused in the state, is a crook and swindler who played the most cynical communal card by forming a political party for the Dalits whom he had only exploited throughout his political career.  Even the helicopter given him by the BJP for the election campaign could not take him to any height whatever.  His party did not win even a single seat.  Cynical communalism has no place in Kerala yet though clandestine communalism triumphs!  Mr Modi and his cohorts can learn some subtlety from Kerala.

The BJP won one seat through O. Rajagopal who made it finally after losing 15 times in elections to the Assembly as well as the Parliament!  His tenacity and grit must be admired, if nothing else.

 If the secular parties in Kerala really deliver what they are supposed to, then a party like the BJP will not fare any better than Vellapally’s BDJS in Kerala.  I hope Pinarayi Vijayan will become the Chief Minister and the politics in the state will undergo a radical change.  I hope the party workers of Pinarayi will allow him to do his job.

Post Script

The Cannes Film Festival is showing a number of movies which underscore the revenge of the poor.  Andrea Arnold’s American Honey features people who earn their living by selling magazine subscriptions but augment that meagre income by robbing jewellery from the affluent.  Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake shows the plight of a disabled man who lets out his fury by spraying paint on a job centre with onlookers applauding him.  Joe who lost his farm because he followed the advice of some financial expert on the TV takes revenge by holding the expert hostage in his own studio in the movie, Money Monster.  The French farce, Ma Loute, goes to the extent of featuring characters who murder and eat the rich. 

When the richest one percent owns more than the bottom 90 (in the USA, for example), it is time for revolutionary changes.  Revolutions usually started with literature.  Now it can start at the Cannes too. 

Or in an election in India!

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  1. Elections! A topic that makes people go crazy despite being 'educated'. And I really don't understand the logic of creating problems, after the results are out, as happened in Kannur yesterday!

    1. Kannur is a politically sensitive area because of the Parties involved: both CPM and BJP consider their parties as religions and hence sentiments get heated up quickly. And these party workers are really not "educated".


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