India: Left wins Kerala, bucking national rightwards shift

Issue 
Left Democratic Front supporters in Kerala.

A long political campaign in the south Indian state of Kerala has again been played out according to the pattern followed for the last few decades. The Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) defeated the incumbent Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in May 19 elections.

The elections continued the state's recent history of swinging between the UDF and the LDF. The two fronts have alternated in power since 1982.

A long political campaign in the south Indian state of Kerala has again been played out according to the pattern followed for the last few decades. The Communist party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) defeated the incumbent Indian National Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in May 19 elections.

The elections continued the state's recent history of swinging between the UDF and the LDF. The two fronts have alternated in power since 1982.

But what makes this year's victory for the LDF more important is that it occurs at a time when the left is in retreat nationally, and the right is on the rise. Due to this, the presence of the CPI-M has been confined to Tripura and Kerala.

In Kerala, the CPI-M-led front has been able to keep its seat share above 50 in the 140-member legislature assembly for the last 15 years. The UDF, however, has suffered from a series of corruption scandals that have hit UDF ministers.

On May 26, CPI-M leader Pinarayi Vijayan took the oath to become the 12th chief minister of Kerala. The LDF won 91 seats on May 19.