For the first time in four decades, the incumbent government has retained power in Kerala. Pinarayi Vijayan’s Left Front has won a decisive victory in the recently concluded election, riding on public goodwill for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nipah outbreak and the 2018 floods.
Nidhi Suresh and Aditya Varier travelled through the southern state to cover the election for Newslaundry. They discuss their impressions and experiences in this conversation with Mehraj D Lone, and how they found telltale signs of the Left’s impending victory. They also explain why the opposition alliance led by the Congress and the BJP couldn’t mount a serious challenge to the Left.
They further talk about the dynamics of the public-politician relationship in Kerala, and how that contributes to it being a welfare state. “People in Kerala largely recognise that the government is a service provider, they do not see it as the champion of their ideology,'' says Aditya. Nidhi highlights Kerala’s high literacy as a contributing factor.
They talk about the people whom the welfare state has failed or neglected such as the Adivasis of Wayanad, the battle for justice of V Bhagyavathi, the influence of the RSS and Hindutva, and a lot more.