New caste combination rattles Kerala opposition

The BJP, which raised its vote share at Aruvikkara more than four-fold, is experimenting the caste combination it tried successfully in several states in North India.

By T.K Devasia.

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Published: Wed 28 Oct 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 28 Oct 2015, 10:07 AM

Trivandrum: The local body polls to be held in Kerala on November 2 and 5 will be a litmus test for the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) which has been witnessing a steady decline in its electoral fortunes in the past few years.
The biggest challenge to the CPM this time comes not from its traditional rival-the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that has shaken its ground by forging an electoral understanding with the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), a community organisation of the lower caste Ezhava Hindus.
The new alliance is likely to affect CPM the most since Ezhavas constitute its major support base. The party has been witnessing a steady flight of its Ezhava cadres to the BJP even before the formal alliance. The huge loss the party suffered in the Aruvikkara by-election in June this year is seen as an outcome of this process.
The BJP, which raised its vote share at Aruvikkara more than four-fold is experimenting the caste combination it tried successfully in several states in North India.
However, CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan says it will not succeed in Kerala since it is known for its progressive thinking and negation of communal and reactionary ideas.
He pointed out that the political experiments made by SNDP and Nair Service Society (NSS), the community organization of upper caste Nair, in the 1970s had failed. The Socialist Republican Party (SRP) and the National Democratic Party (NDP) floated by the SNDP and NSS respectively were disbanded after two decades as they could not get the support of the people. Vijayan says several sections in the BJP and the SNDP had not taken new alliance kindly.
Resentment is brewing within both the organisations. Majority of the 6,500 SNDP units are against the alliance. The state BJP leadership is also against projecting SNDP general secretary Vellappally Natesan as a front leader.
It fears it would destroy its traditional upper caste vote base.
However, the CPM is not ready to dismiss the challenge posed by the new alliance. The party has adopted a two-pronged strategy to prevent erosion of Ezhava votes.
news@khaleejtimes.com



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