Saturday, April 18, 2009

What the Ballots Hold: crystal gazing on electoral outcome in Kerala

THERE IS an eerie uncertainty after the polls. Now more than 48 hours since the voting in Kerala in the first phase of the general election to the 15th Lok Sabha, people are trying to second guess who might have gained and who lost in the polling. The speculations will continue till the day the votes are counted.

Let me add my own bit to the prevailing confusion:

There is every reason to feel that there has been a swift, subterranean move among voters that has caused very dearly to the left parties, mainly the CPM in this election. In the past few weeks I had talked to hundreds of people who used to vote for CPM for many years, but I see there is a mood swing. Most of them were bitter with their own party, for various reasons.

I am not talking about the rebels in the CPM or the dissidents who have surfaced in places like Vatakara, Palakkad and Kozhikode. I speak about the ordinary party workers mainly from the poorer sections who were once the backbone of the Communist party. Now there is a feeling that the party has abandoned them, and it has been converted into a middle class organization. The candidate selection this time has strengthened this perception of alienation.

Unlike the 2004 and 2006 elections when the minorities like Christians and Muslims were either divided or shifted towards the left, giving the LDF a thumping win, this time there is a swing to the other side. The CPM leadership, in its post-poll analysis, has accepted that the Christians have returned to the UDF fold this time, but feel the Muslims are still with the left. This is a wrong perception because what I have seen in the northern Muslim belt is a fast deterioration of relations between the Muslim masses and CPM for a variety of reasons.

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