People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 24

June 12, 2011



Intervention of Caste, Communal Forces

Pinarayi Vijayan

THAT big crowds attended the election rallies of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) clearly showed the increasing support of the front, thanks to the incomparable performance of the erstwhile LDF (2006-11) government with a number of welfare and developmental measures. It was undoubtedly the hostility of the people that made the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) fail to organise any massive mobilisation even the rallies which attended the prime minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi addressed. This made the UDF leadership realise that the LDF cannot be defeated politically. Hence the UDF depended on and managed to influence the caste and religious forces for its rescue.




During the elections, in general, the caste and communal forces took a position against the LDF. During the last parliamentary elections, some of the Christian dioceses had openly opposed the LDF. Numerous pastoral letters were fervently issued against the LDF in that election. In the recent election, however, such direct involvement was not seen. It cannot be said that all the Christian religious dioceses showed an open rivalry against the LDF. It is true that in certain areas some sections had acted openly against the LDF. However, the fact is that Christian religious dioceses organised a silent campaign against the LDF.


On its part, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) initiated moves to unify all the Muslim organisations as a tactic to ensure Muslim votes for its candidates. Even though this plan did not score total success, it had had big impact in some areas. Some organisations that declined to support the LDF, openly rallied behind the UDF. It is significant that such organisations had never raised any objection so far as the LDF government’s functioning was concerned.


The NSS (Nair Service Society) always maintained an ‘equal distance theory’ till recently. But it altered its position and its general secretary himself revealed later the anti-Left stand taken by the NSS in the assembly polls. The reason behind this reversal of its earlier position still remains unclear. Immediately after the revelation of the NSS general secretary that it had supported the UDF, general secretary of the Shri Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) came to the scene with a statement saying that if only the NSS had stated its stance before the election, the electoral scenario could have been different. The SNDP too tried to defeat the LDF candidates in many constituencies. Many other caste and religious forces too adopted, by and large, the position to defeat the LDF, thanks to their perception that the UDF would protect the vested interests of the leaders of such caste and religious organisations. Their opposition was not on the basis of the stance taken by the LDF government in relation to the common people associated with such religious and caste groups.




The election results vividly show the fact that such interventions by the caste and communal organisations could not make any major impact on the election outcome, as they had expected. In many constituencies in the central part of Kerala where Christian minority has an extremely significant influence, LDF candidates bagged surprising victories. In Kozhikkode district, the LDF won in many constituencies where Muslim minority is an influential section. In Changanassery constituency where the NSS headquarters are located, people voted for the LDF candidate even in the NSS strongholds. The SNDP tried to defeat many LDF candidates but most of them were elected with huge margins.


This failure of the caste and religious organisations to defeat the LDF was indeed surprising for many. The attitude of the caste and religious organisations had made the UDF believe that it would succeed in the election and hence immediately after the election it expressed the confidence that it would gain 100 seats. But it is vividly clear that the electorate’s stand was contrary to the UDF’s calculations.


During the run-up to the elections, the BJP unleashed a tremendous campaign with its claim to open account in the state legislative assembly. Many national leaders of the party attended the campaign and its leadership denied any possibility of its vote transfer. But a comprehensive review of the voting pattern establishes that in some areas vote sale took place in the election. Such vote transfers to ensure the UDF’s victory have transpired in several constituencies including Kozhikkode (S), Kazhakkoottam, Parassala, Kottayam, Thrithala and Piravam. For example, while the BJP’s vote share decreased by 2474 votes in the Kozhikkode assembly seat compared to the parliament elections, the UDF won that constituency by a margin of 1376 votes. In Thrithala constituency, compared to the parliament elections, BJP’s votes decreased by 4851and hence the UDF won by a margin of 3197 votes. In Parassala, a reduction of 5425 in the BJP’s votes made the UDF win by a narrow margin of 505 votes.


Even though the UDF rallied all the caste and communal forces behind it, the front could not get the expected victory thanks to the pro-people policies of the LDF government and its principled political positions. While the LDF has always been committed to protect the religious faith of all sections, it stands against any religious intervention in politics. The LDF has always upheld a secular political position. The people of Kerala have been supporting the secular political position of the LDF and this has several times helped the LDF score a victory in election.




Even though people belong to various religious groups, the LDF recognises that they are also the toiling masses --- industrial workers, farmers, fishing workers, agricultural workers, government employees, etc. Thus they confront similar problems in their day to day life. The previous UDF regime in 2001-06 had escalated their miseries. Unlike the UDF government, the LDF government’s zealous intervention to ensure the welfare of all sections of the people, irrespective of their caste and religious affiliations, has made them sympathetic towards the LDF.


For example, the LDF government’s intervention for the progress of the coastal areas made the fishing workers support the LDF’s candidates. Similar situations exist in agriculture and traditional industry sectors also. Contrary to the UDF policy that curtailed all the benefits of the government employees, the LDF government reinstated all the existing benefits, ensured the pay revision on time, and this made the government servants support the LDF. Its dedicated effort to ensure social justice generated an optimism among the most alienated sections and this made them discard the opinions of the caste organisations and advocates of identity politics. It is significant that LDF candidates won 10 out of 14 reserved seats. The government intervention to lift the status of women and ensure gender parity ensured massive participation of women in the LDF’s election campaign. The election results show the fact that the LDF’s base among the common people has broadened.


It is true that the LDF had expected to win a majority of the seats in the elections but this hope did not materialise. Its defeat in some of the constituencies has to be analysed at the local level for necessary rectification and further advance.




The present crisis in the UDF, even while it has formed a ministry, is the upshot of its policy to stoop down before the caste and communal forces in the election. Such organisations have put their own claims for ministerial positions and proposed their candidates for the same, thanks to the UDF’s abject dependence on such organisations. For a secular organisation like the Congress party, such a situation is embarrassing and dishonourable. It will lead to far reaching consequences for the social life in the state. 


No instances of communal clash were reported during the LDF government. This became possible because of to its policy to keep the communal forces at bay. But the UDF’s policy to appease such forces will definitely impair the communal harmony obtaining in the state. Some recent incidents clearly indicate that the state administration is in the clutches of these forces that also guard the criminal mafia groups in the state.


The UDF government also threatens to do away with the policy interventions which the LDF government had implemented as an alternative to the neo-liberal policies of the central government. The present government’s announcement on the public sector undertakings and its stand on decentralisation is a clear indication of its desire. But if the government implements such anti-people policies, the state will sure witness massive movements in the days to come. The CPI(M) is vigilant against any attempt to destroy the religious harmony and secular fabric of the state. While continuing with its firm stand against all communal forces, the party is seeking the support of all sections to safeguard the achievements the state had achieved.