S Krishna Kumar, the LDF candidate who won from a ward in Haripad in Alappuzha, made a very stranger offer to the people. At his victory rally, he said, “You should be thankful when drinking water from a pipeline that was established by a communist candidate. Instead of ‘Hare Ram Hare Ram’ you should learn to say ‘Hare Krishnakumar Hare Krishnakumar’.” He added that he knows the “14 people that didn’t vote for him”. “For the next five years, I am the counsellor here and don’t approach me for any of your needs,” he said, subtly addressing the 14 people that apparently didn’t vote for him.
In a similar sense, political experts have opined that the left alliance’s offer of freebies during the local polls have helped get votes for the LDF. This is much in line with the Tamil Nadu parties’ use of expensive freebies to attract voters. While this is common in TN, the pundits believe that it is not yet a common strategy for the Kerala parties. From kits to rations, the left government, as well as their local components, have used them as a vote-pulling strategy. However, this is a clear violation of the provision of the Indian Constitution, especially since how the expenditure comes out of the public exchequer.
They have reduced social security and food kits to electoral promises instead of addressing them as what they are: necessities. The CPM and its allies fail to notice (or ignore) the constitutional limitations and the damage it can do to the finances. Article 266 of the Indian Constitution says, “No money out of the Consolidated Fund of India or the Consolidated Fund of a State shall be appropriated except in accordance with law and for the purposes and in the manner provided in this Constitution.”
Moreover, the Election Commission keeps a close watch on such instances and yet there haven’t been many actions from their side in the state. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pulled a BJP trick out of his hat by offering free vaccine much before directives from Centre. Despite complaints, the Kerala EC merely asked for an explanation and nothing more. In this context, S Krishna Kumar’s speech is even more problematic. He believes that the people have to be indebted to him and the Communist party for providing them water lines. He doesn’t realise that such projects are completed with the state budget and are fundamental needs of the people. There are more to it as well.
Firstly, the counsellor believes that he has an inherent right to the votes of the people in his ward, that somehow any exercise of a different choice is a decision against him. Secondly, the counsellor, by claiming that he is not going to be representing everyone, is threatening people from ever voting against him and denying the people of a right to service. Although he had expressed his apology on social media for saying it, it felt too little too late.
The counsellor decided to threaten people who didn’t vote for him, scare people from not voting for him, and denying people the service that they have a right to, and is telling them that their right to vote is only relevant if they vote for him. He also believes that the public has to be indebted to the party because they completed projects from the public’s money.
Such claims and notions are not only problematic for democracy but also fundamentally hypocritical of a party that claims to be socialist and democratic.