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Major Issues in 2024 Election in Kerala 

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.

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