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Kerala 2021: Why Pinarayi Vijayan may make history

By SHOBHA WARRIER
Last updated on: March 12, 2021 10:49 IST
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'While the Congressmen were fighting, the LDF was quietly doing its job, perhaps bringing in results in the lives of the people.'
'Pinarayi Vijayan and several ministers in his cabinet believed that the government should do real business, which is not to fight with the UDF but govern.'

IMAGE: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan speaks with students at universities in Kerala. Photograph: Kind courtesy CPI(M) Kerala/Twitter

As things stand now, the Left Democratic Front with Pinarayi Vijayan as chief minister is expected to create history and come back to power.

If it happens, voting back a government to power would occur in Kerala for the first time since 1977 when the Congress-led United Democratic Front was re-elected to power.

Can Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran Pinarayi Vijayan create history?

Paul Zacharia is a well-known novelist and political commentator. The second of a multi-segment interview with Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier:

 

The LDF was drubbed in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, but in the recent local body elections held in December 2020, they came victorious. What changed between 2019 and now?

According to me, it was the Rahul Gandhi factor that turned the tide for the UDF in such a huge way in the 2019 election. That's why I am giving a small margin of advantage to the UDF now though the opinion polls say otherwise.

But mind you, the Lok Sabha election and assembly election are different cups of tea.

Between the Lok Sabha elections and the local body elections, do you think the UDF lost its grip on people?

Yes, the UDF had lost its grip, but Rahul may have helped it regain it a bit. It is not enough as it still has not regained much in terms of credibility.

The traditional UDF vote bank still remains, but whether they are able to awaken it is another matter.

Would it have made a difference if Oommen Chandy continued as the UDF leader?

I think so. Not because Ramesh Chennithala is a bad leader -- he is a well-experienced and competent person. But Chandy has old-world charisma.

A lot of time was wasted by the Congress party, fighting whatever the LDF government did without proposing anything new. Instead of strengthening the party, they were all the time creating pointless agitations against the government.

Weeks and months were spent on press conferences attacking the government. They became so boring and predictable.

A bad move?

A terrible move. It didn't take them anywhere. You can't become an Opposition party by just throwing accusations -- imaginary and real -- against the government.

Do you think this move will boomerang?

It has already boomeranged. While they were fighting, the LDF was quietly doing its job, perhaps bringing in results in the lives of the people. This is where the difference happened.

The credit especially goes to Pinarayi Vijayan, and also several ministers in the cabinet who believed that the government should do real business, which is not to fight with the UDF, but govern.

In my opinion, the LDF government governed.

IMAGE: Rahul Gandhi interacts with fishermen at Thangassery beachI in Kerala. Photograph: Kind courtesy @INCIndia/Twitter

You said it was because of Rahul Gandhi that the UDF won 18 out of 20 seats in 2019, but many people were of the opinion that it was the Sabarimala issue that affected the LDF badly....

It was wishful thinking on the part of the RSS and the BJP, and a pathetic way of looking at Malayali Hindus that Sabarimala played a major role in the 2019 election results.

In Pathanamthitta, the constituency where the temple is, the BJP was wiped out including Mr K Surendran (the current president of the state BJP).

Will the BJP roping in E Sreedharan and making him the chief ministerial candidate, make any difference?

The poor guy has been living outside Kerala all his life and living in a world of engineering and management which he is extremely good at.

He doesn't know what he has fallen into, he doesn't know what he has to say, he doesn't know politics and he doesn't know Kerala politics.

He is respected for what he has done as a technocrat, but he is a poor choice for election purposes. I hardly see the RSS touch in his adoption by the BJP.

He said his joining the BJP would bring in a large number of votes to the BJP...

Maybe his family and friends would vote for him!

Where will the BJP go from the one seat they have now?

I am going by the C-Voter survey; that the BJP will win between 0 and 2.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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