As the 2019 Lok Sabha election results draw to a close, and the BJP emerges as the clear victor, we see a completely different picture in Kerala. Contrary to what’s happening in the North, the UDF has won 19 out of 20 seats and proves yet again that Kerala swings between ‘white khaddar’ and ‘Communist red’.
However, there are a few things that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
Why did Rahul Gandhi contest from Wayanad?
In early April, Rahul Gandhi was urged by the Congress to find a ‘safe seat’ as there were visible signs that Amethi might swing in favour of Smriti Irani. But where would that safe seat be? Wayanad of course! Why Wayanad? Kerala is and will be a Congress stronghold considering the strong alliances that UDF has in the state. Out of the 20 seats in Kerala, Ernakulam and Wayanad have traditionally been sure shots for the Congress. Wayanad was chosen since IUML has a strong influence in the constituency. In hindsight, this proved to be a great move as Amethi did elect Smriti Irani by an outstanding margin.
Why did the LDF lose?
It is no secret that the LDF lost some voter base with the Sabarimala issue. The largest part base for the LDF lies in the strata of society that could be considered the biggest devotees of Lord Ayyappa. With the Sabarimala issue, the fight shifted from ideology to identity. And what a price the LDF has had to pay for it! But this can’t be said to be the end of LDF though. Public memory is short, as they say, and the party will make amends for sure.
Is this the end of the road for BJP in Kerala?
While they’ve had a sweeping victory up North, Kerala remains elusive to the BJP. But that is not to say that the BJP has no future in Kerala. We’ve seen PM Modi visiting the state multiple times in the past 5 years. Even Amit Shah has been visiting Kerala frequently, keen to set up a strong voter base in Kerala. The BJP also has considerable presence in campuses around Kerala with ABVP. In time, these leaders would rise to the larger stage.
What does all this mean? It means that Kerala would have closer contests in the future. We might see the BJP winning seats in the next Assembly elections. We might see a new coalition coming to power in the near ‘political future’ – a coalition that includes the BJP.