By P. Sreekumaran
A disturbing feature of Kerala politics
– and it is a matter of grave concern for all who set great store by clean
politics – is the growing influence of caste-based and community organizations.
phenomenon has acquired added traction with the crucial Lok Sabha elections
only months away. Significantly, all the three fronts – the CPI(M)-led Left
Democratic Front (LDF), the Congress-headed United Democratic Front(UDF) and
the National Democratic Front(NDA) led by the BJP are equally guilty of
placating these organizations in an unabashed display of vote-bank politics.
the organizations which are soaking in the adulation are the Nair Service
Society (NSS), the organization of Nairs, and the Sree Narayana Dharma
Paripalana Yogam (SNDP), the powerful organization of the Ezhava commun ity,
which constitute 27 per cent of Kerala’s population and the mainstay of the
the CPI(M) is going out of the way to keep the SNDP in good humour, the
Congress and the BJP are vying with each
other to secure the support of the NSS. The appease SNDP move of the CPI(M)
climaxed with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself calling on SNDP chief
Vellappally Natesan at his residence the other day, with four of his ministers in tow!
CPI(M)’s eagerness to ensure the continued support of the SNDP is
understandable. The CPI(M)’s efforts for a patch-up with the NSS had failed with the latter
taking a strident anti-government position on the Sabarimala issue. Hence the
CPI(M)’s anxiety to keep the SNDP by its side. After all, the SNDP support is
vital for the LDF to give a good account
of itself in the Lok Sabha elections.
the SNDP had played a key role in ensuring the success of the
Government-organised Women’s Wall programme recently. It is in appreciation of
this support that the Pinarayi Government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the
second phase of the construction of a pilgrim facilitation centre at the
Kanichukulangara temple. SNDP boss Vellappally Natesan has been serving as the
president of the Kanichukulangara Devaswom for the last 54 years!
CPI(M) knows jolly well that the support of the SNDP is an essential
prerequisite for the LDF to put up a good show, especially in South Kerala and
parts of Central Kerala.
the CPI(M) has more or less ensured the support of the SNDP, the Congress and
the BJP are trying their level best to gain the support of the NSS. The BJP, for instance, believes that this
time around, the NSS will back the BJP-led NDA in view of the similarity of
their stand on the Sabarimala issue.
its part, Congress also is equally confident of the NSS support for the
party-led UDF in the Lok Sabha elections.
the denouement, one thing is for sure. The increasing political clout of both
the NSS and the SNDP is a source of worry for all the fronts, especially the
UDF and the LDF. By bending over backwards to secure the support of these
organizations, both the fronts have put a premium on caste and community
politics, which bodes ill for the Kerala polity. (IPA Service)
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