A win in an election is a natural occasion for a big celebration. But when the results of the closely fought election for 140 Assembly seats in Kerala come out on May 2, the reality of the dangerous times we live in and the pressing demand for increased caution will continue to dominate the mood. While the big question is whether the voters will preserve the state’s political tradition of choosing the LDF and UDF alternately or set a new precedent and stick to the incumbent ruling alliance, the hope is that the verdict will be decisive, either way. A hung Assembly will only lead to further chaos, severely damaging the fight against the pandemic.
Instead of bouquets that usually welcome the incoming ministry, a set of tough challenges will usher in the new team this time. The projection that the state may be dealing with more than eight lakh active Covid cases and a daily caseload of around 50,000 by mid-May will require the new administration’s immediate attention.
There is no room for the usual bickering over ministerial berths and portfolios. The best gift that the winning front can give people is to put in place a professional and robust Cabinet as soon as possible.
The new team will have to prescribe some bitter pills for the people soon after taking over. While experts have suggested that the state be locked down to contain the virus that is on the rampage, the incumbent government has been dithering on taking a call.
The challenges of procuring vaccines and distributing them will be the next big responsibility. Conducting university and engineering entrance exams amidst the pandemic will also require some stern and innovative thinking.
Though the outgoing finance minister Thomas Isaac claimed there is a Rs 3,000-crore surplus in the treasury, it is not a secret that the state’s financial health is critical. The crisis also calls for a responsible opposition.
Forgoing the usual post-poll grieving period, the opposition will need to be on the ground from day one with constructive actions and suggestions.
Parties and politicians have caused enough damage through blatant and large-scale violation of pandemic-time rules during electioneering. They must ensure that the post-result period doesn’t contribute to the crisis.