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2024 General Election in Kerala

A one-stop destination to understand some facts of 
upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha Election or General Election in Kerala.

Some Basic Information

Kerala's political scene as we head into the 2024 General Election to the Lok Sabha is in flux. The state has 20 seats in the Lok Sabha and has a total of 2.70 crore voters; 1.31 crore male, 1.39 crore female and 300-odd third gender voters.

 

In the earlier general elections in 2019, the state witnessed a sweep by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) that won 19 out of 20 seats.  The election was characterised by two major consolidations - that of the minority communities against Hindutva and that of the majority community due to the Sabarimala issue. The first was motivated by the expectation that Rahul Gandhi (who was also contesting from Wayanad) would become Prime Minister, while the second consolidation was motivated by the anti-CPM position many in the Hindu community held due to Pinrayi  Vijayan's conduct after the Sabarimala Judgement. 

 

However, in the 2021 Assembly Elections, the state witnessed a historic sweep with the current Chief Minister being Pinrayi Vijayan from the CPI(M) being the first Chief Minsiter to be re-elected to power.

Brief on Current Situation

The LDF led by the CPI(M) is facing unprecedented anti-incumbency after having won a historic second term in the 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly Elections. Meanwhile, the primary opposition, United Democratic Front (UDF) a coalition led by the Congress, is aiming to replicate its 2019 Lok Sabha performance when it won a record 19 out of 20 seats. The BJP-led NDA meanwhile is aiming to win its first ever seat in the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. 

 

While the constituents of UDF and LDF have aligned nationally aligned under the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (I.N.D.I.A.), they are directly competing in Kerala, even in seats where the BJP is in the reckoning. In some seats, Kerala will witness a three-way race between the three alliances, while in some seats the NDA's vote share is likely to determine the winner.

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Political Profile of Kerala 

Kerala Politics has long been divided into two fronts: the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) since the 80s. However, the BJP which has been a marginal player in the state's political scene has now become a viable third front which is securing a significant share of the votes since 2014. 

'Aikya Keralam' or United Kerala was formed by integrating the Travancore-Cochin Province with the Malabar District  and the Kasargode Taluk of South Canara District of the Madras Province were integrated to create the United State of Kerala. The first election in 1956-57 resulted in the first democratically elected Communist Government in Asia. However, education and land reforms resulted in the 'Vimochana' Samaram or the 'Liberation Struggle" led by the opposition and social organisations opposed to them which resulted in the first dismissal of a State Government. Since then, the only elected Government to complete its term was the C. Achutha Menon Government of the Communist Party of India (CPI) - Congress (INC) combine which governed from 1970 to 1977. This 'United Front' Government was in fact the first one to be re-elected with K. Karunkaran of the Congress becoming Chief Minister. However, no front since has ever been re-elected. While E.K. Nayanar and V.S. Achuthanadan came close in 1991 and 2011 to a possible re-election for a CPM-led LDF Government, Pinarayi Vijayan became succesful in the a historic victory in the 2021 Assembly elections.

There is obviously a lot more to politics in Kerala.

 

To know, Read More Here

Major Issues in 2024 Election in Kerala 

(You can read this as a post here)

The following are the major issues in the run up to the 2024 General Elections:

1. Performance (or lack thereof) of the State Government

Much like 2019 General Election,  the unpopularity of the LDF Government led by Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will be a crucial discussion topic. The delayed welfare payments, arrogant attitude of the Chief Minister, along with the serious allegations against the CM's daughter in having received illegal payments. The Karuvannur Bank scam, which is also linked to CPM, has also dented the image of the CPM. In general, the performance of the state Government is perceived to be high-handed and bungling approach to all issues facing the state. 

2. Possibilities of I.N.D.I. Alliance and likelihood of PM Modi's return

Unlike before the 2019 General Election, the public perception in Kerala is that the re-election of the current NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is inevitable. This reflects the national mood in a broad sense after the BJP's victory in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in December 2023. The PM's focus to Kerala as well as the candidate selection of the BJP are all likely to lead to positive outcomes for NDA in the state. The disjointed nature of the I.N.D.I. Alliance also does not help the Congress-led UDF or the LDF, both of whom are supposed to be part of the same national alliance. Thus, the NDA's narrative of being the only 'real alternative' gains credence in voter's mind. The popularity of the Prime Minister has gone up significantly in Kerala, with developmental narratives gaining significant traction. 

3. Support to Islamism, & Hindu-Christian Polarisation

An important 'X" factor that will likely determine the BJP's success in Kerala will be the amount of Christian vote it manages to attract. There has been a significant disquiet since 2019 regarding the growing influence and power of Islamism in Kerala. While the Catholic Church has many a times in the past highlighted issues such as 'love jihad', the social cohesion in Kerala is fraying at the edges recently due to the creeping dominance of Islamist agenda in Kerala's discourse. The opposition of the Islamists and Muslim organisation to EWS, the public responses on the conversion of Hagia Sophia to a mosque, a slanted scholarship recommendation that benefitted Muslims over Christians have all been factors in the deterioration of the relationship between Christians and Muslims. This, combined with BJP's long-standing attempt to court the Christian community and PM's personal outreach to Christians may prove a decisive factor in the elections. Even a small swaying in the overall votes of the Chrisitan votes will swing BJP to winnability in certain seats. The LDF and UDF have been attempting to stem the possible flow of votes to NDA by raising the issue of ethnic clashes in Manipur, however this is unlikely to affect those predisposed to vote for BJP in Kerala. 

4. Anti-Hindutva

A major plank of both LDF and UDF is the attempt to project credibility on who can 'deal' with the BJP more effectively or offer an effective alternative to the rise of Hindutva. This discourse is primarily aimed at securing the Muslim vote in the state which had backed the UDF in extraordinary numbers in 2019, in the expectation that Rahul Gandhi will become Prime Minister. However, due to the diminished probability of that in public perception (as stated in point 2), the LDF stands to gain. However, the unpopularity of the Chief Minister is likely to play spoilsport in capitalising on this.  The push by CPM to depict Congress as being hand-in-hand with the BJP is to the same end. The CPM and Chief Minister Pinarayi Viajayan have also attempted to score political points by highlighting their decision to oppose CAA. The success of this plank is likely to influence the results of all the 6-7 seats in the Malabar region.

List of Candidates for Elections From Major Fronts

 You can see my prediction here.

Electoral Statistics

 

It is important to have a view of the results of previous elections in making future predictions and creating expectations. An understanding of electoral history will benefit greatly in understanding political dynamics as well.

 

An understanding of vote shares across the State will also benefit in having a more grounded analysis of the possibilities. Both UDF and LDF  has enjoyed an extremely close vote share in the state which has now been disrupted by the BJP, as you can see here:

In recent past, we have witnessed the electorate swinging from one extreme to another, as can be seen in the maps given below. Further statistics is available in the link:

To Know,  Read More Here.

 
 
 
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