The Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by its ‘Captain’ Pinarayi Vijayan, rewrote history in Kerala on Sunday by winning a second term in a state that had not returned an incumbent government in four decades. Vijayan, became the third chief minister in Kerala's history to be re-elected and the first to continue in office after completing a full term. While the LDF won 97 of the state’s 140 seats, the opposition party UDF won 47 seats and the challenger BJP got nil.
Said CPI(M) leader Thomas Isaac in a tweet, "We have closed the account that the BJP opened in the Kerala Assembly in 2016 election. Kerala has become the only Assembly in India that has no representative from the BJP. Kerala will remain the citadel of secularism in the country."
The LDF is believed to have won votes with its prompt and able handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, former CPM Secretary General Prakash Karat said that the people of Kerala “appreciated the work of the Pinarayi government – the way it tackled the floods, Covid pandemic and its pro-people development in the state.”
Meanwhile, the BJP, which had opened its account in Kerala last time with one seat and had expected to win more this time, drew a blank.
Counter-consolidation of minority communities, division of votes in triangular fights and infighting within the party are said to be some of the reasons behind the BJP's dismal display in Kerala.
Senior leaders such as Kummanam Rajasekharan, K Surendran, Sobha Surendran and E Sreedharan were all defeated from their respective constituencies.
In fact, it was a resounding loss, and a loss of face, for state BJP President K Surendran, who lost both the seats he contested in - Konni and Manjeshwaram. The state BJP president before the assembly elections in Kerala had claimed “We will win 35 seats and form government in Kerala.” This is not the first time Surendran is losing in Manjeswar. He lost to P B Abdul Rasaq of the UDF candidate by 89 votes in the last assembly polls. According to political analysts, Surendran could have lost because he contested in two constituencies. There was also strong criticism against hiring of helicopters to campaign in both constituencies.
E Sreedharan, who is better known as Metro Man, was a top contender for the Palakkad seat. In fact, BJP had hoped to get the benefit from their undeclared Chief Ministerial face, Sreedharan's candidature. However, Sreedharan’s comment on his aversion towards beef eaters and that Love Jihad is a reality, could be reason why the man, who was famous for spearheading the construction of Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro, lost votes, say political analysts.
Senior leader Sobha Surendran, who had launched a massive campaign in Kazhakoottam constituency raising the Sabarimala women's entry issue, failed to upset Devaswom minister Kadakampally Surendran's applecart.
BJP also failed to retain power in Nemom, which was their sitting seat. Although BJP candidate Kummanam Rajasekharan was leading from Nemom in the initial hours of counting, he was pushed to third place by LDF candidate V Sivankutty, who won the Nemom seat with a margin of 2025 seats.
Asked about the party's lack of performance, Surendran told the media that its candidates have secured second position in many constituencies.
He also cited 'communal polarisation' as the reason for the party's drubbing and said there was a conscious attempt to defeat the BJP-NDA.
"We could not win the expected seats. There was a polarisation of Muslim votes in constituencies where the NDA was pinning hopes. There was communal polarisation in Nemom, Palakkad and Manjeswaram," he said.
Meanwhile, many a netizen seems to be celebrating the fact that BJP did not win any seats in God’s own country.
Actor Prakash Raj congratulated the LDF for their win. He tweeted, “God’s own country has kicked the devil out. Pinarayi Vijayan, congratulations sir, Good governance wins over communal bigotry and a big thank you my dear Kerala, love you for what you are.” One Twitter user wrote, “I request the mainstream media of Kerala to now avoid calling BJP spokespersons to the newsrooms in the name of debates and providing them a platform to propagate their shit. They don't represent Kerala anymore in any of the constituencies.” Another wrote, “DID YOU KNOW Kerala is the most literate state Bas yehi batana tha (SIC)”