THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An eventful year in Kerala’s political calendar, the Left front recorded substantial gains in 2015 and is looking forward to reap rich results in 2016. With four Kerala marches scheduled in January followed by Assembly polls it’s sure to be another politically vibrant year for the state.
The bedlam in the Assembly over K M Mani’s 13th Budget set the ground for 2015. Kerala witnessed what could be termed as the black day in its democratic history, marked by violence inside and outside the Assembly on March 13. In the Assembly, opposition LDF did everything possible to prevent Mani, accused in the bar bribery charges, from presenting the Budget.
The bedlam continued to create ripples for many months with women legislators alleging sexual harassment by some of the ruling front legislators.
The Left could get its act together and record a win in a major electoral battle after about a decade through the local body polls. Winning big time in local bodies, a confident Left has started strategies for the Assembly elections. The Left recorded a clear majority winning 5 corporations, 43 municipalities, seven district panchayats and about two third of block and grama panchayats.
Determined to cash in on the public support, the Left has been going ahead with people’s initiatives. The CPM has announced a Code of Conduct for its elected representatives of local bodies while the CPI has a code of conduct already in place.
A new found vigour in the Left front was visible with the CPM and CPI getting new state secretaries. The Left attempt is to bring back its former allies including the RSP and Veerendrakumar-led JDU to its fold.
“A united fight is essential for the CPM’s existence as a political party. Unity within the party is a must. Elections in West Bengal and Kerala are coming up; and the party has to keep the factional feud under the carpet. Only then will they be able to cash in on the anti-incumbency factor. The third front led by the BJP is coming up in a big way leaving no chance for the traditional bi-polar scenario,” pointed out Left observer Appukkuttan Vallikkunnu.
With Left agitations against K M Mani bearing fruit, a re-energised Left can pose a major challenge to the ruling front. Meanwhile, the Left is clearly concerned about the substantial increase in BJP’s vote share in the local body polls. The CPM has decided to continue their campaign against communal forces; and has made it clear that increase in BJP vote share will be viewed seriously.
The state is witnessing a never-before political scenario with the third front led by the BJP. Having proved itself as a powerhouse in vote bank politics, the SNDP leadership has been making clear bargains in electoral politics, with the newly-floated Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS).
Under the new leadership of hardliner Kummanam Rajasekharan, the BJP too has made its stand clear.
In January, the state will witness marches led by CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran, KPCC president V M Sudheeran and BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan.
With the polls round the corner in all probability 2016 could be a defining year for many political leaders in the state.