14 June, 2021

The Other Pinarayi

It was his pragmatic, non-dogmatic ways that got the swing votes

Photograph by PTI
The Other Pinarayi

So Kerala has altered a basic pattern in its political history, giving an unprecedented second term to the inc­umbent. The Congress-led UDF allowed a degree of complacency to colour its strategy based on what it assumed was the entrenched DNA of Kerala’s voters. But Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s image as an able administrator in times of crisis helped the LDF break a jinx that many of his illustrious predecessors could not in the past. Natural cal­amities and health emergencies interrupted his reign, but crisis became opportunity—and skilful political communication did the rest. The CM’s daily press conferences allowed him a direct entry to the drawing rooms of millions in the shape of a responsive, answerable leader, in obvious contrast to what New Delhi has made the norm. But there were other factors in the LDF’s win that are not as readily acknowledged. To grasp this, one needs to revisit Kerala’s political history.

For decades, Kerala has been known for the adverse political climate it creates for development projects and...

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