Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today basks in the glory of retaining power in the State after a well-fought Legislative Assembly election. He could bulldoze through the defences of rival Fronts and secure a few more seats for the Left Democratic Front over the 2016 election tally. In the end what mattered in the spectacular electory victory could be the following 10 aspects.
1. He has the image of a chief minister who stood by the decisions made and implemented them even by braving adverse conditions, barring rare occasions.
2. The CM implemented welfare measures in a time-bound manner. He took advance measures to ensure that the code of conduct for the Local Body and Assembly polls did not hamper the rollout of welfare pensions. The move to revise the salary and pensions was a well-calculated one.
3. The veteran Marxist bridged the gap between the government and people by directly interacting with citizens during crisis situations such as the floods of 2018 and 2019, Nipah outbreak and COVID-19 pandemic. The daily news conference telecast live on television became a habit for the people, who sequestered themselves indoors during the pandemic-enforced lockdown. People saw in Pinarayi a caring chief minister when the government launched the food-kit distribution, irrespective of the financial status of beneficiary families, during the lockdown.
4. Though COVID-19 have adversely affected the State’s revenues, development activities progressed unhindered. KIIFB funds were channelised to develop infrastructure across the State. Allegations raised against the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) were immediately countered.
5. The CM succeeded in convincing people that the investigations against the CAG report on KIIFB, dollar smuggling case and the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case were politically motivated. He also dared to announce a judicial probe against the Central agencies.
6. The Cabinet of ministers functioned as a coherent unit without internal bickering or friction. Special care was taken to prevent allegations against ministers or leaders triggering a blame game within the Front.
7. Pinarayi Vijayan took the bold step of sticking to the party’s two-term norm, denying yet another chance at the hustings to even senior ministers like T M Thomas Isaac and G Sudhakaran. The decision sent out the signal that the party was ready for a generational change. People endorse the move as proved by the election results declared on Sunday.
8. He made deft moves to ensure a second consecutive win at the polls. The CM made compromises to bring and retain Kerala Congress (M) in the LDF fold. Professional agencies were employed to effectively highlight and disseminate information about the government’s achievements.
9. He succeeded in convincing the minorities that only the Left Front could protect them. The result in Nemom reflected the role of minorities in realising Pinarayi’s promise that “the BJP had opened an account in the previous polls. We will close that account this time.”
10. Whenever the government was on a warpath with community leaders, it stood by the communities. Even while locking horns with the NSS leadership, the Left implemented 10 per cent reservation for the economically backward sections among forward communities. It also extended the reservation meant for other backward classes (OBC) to the Nadar Christian community. The chief minister also took special care to maintain a close relationship with Church leaders and prominent personalities from different spheres.