Kerala Elections: Do you remember 2006?

Anyone who intently follows the political landscape in India, Kerala, and the US, will be constantly entertained, shocked, and titillated by at least one blockbuster election in a year. In 2008 an unknown left wing Senator from Illinois ran for President and won in the US, in the summer of 2009 India gave a second term to UPA and routed the left in it’s bastions, in 2010 US went to polls battering Obama’s majority in Senate and House, and in 2012 Obama will run for President against. But 2011, like 2006 is an election where one cannot sit back and relax and be thoroughly entertained. Assembly elections in Kerala is a matter of life and death.

Cross Posted in Bodhi Commons – liberating Thoughts, reclaiming Commons

Because if you remember 1991-1996, and 2001-2006, and what we collectively went through as a group of helpless people with no semblance of a government, you don’t want a 2011-2017. Because on an evening in May 2001, Eliyas John of NTV, producer of then popular news programme “Aniyara”, a vocal critic of the then left front government, summarized the election results that came in, in this way –

“This programme has been a harsh critic of the Nayanar government. But tonight we feel sad that Kerala is losing another left democratic government. Because if history is any indicator, we have nothing much to hope for in the next five years”. Short and sad. But if anyone remembers the UDF reign from 2001 to 2006, you might have that sinking feeling on the night of May 13th, whichever party you voted for.

Now in case you don’t remember stuff from 5 years back, these names might ring a bell –

Do you remember Nalakath Soopy? I clearly remember the Minister for Education, a person handling one of the most tricky and critical departments in Kerala, as a student activist. Soopy was a fool, to put it lightly. A senior congress minister admitted that Soopy didn’t get it, and another doubted if Soopy had seen a school veranda given the way he conducted himself in cabinet and outside. But Soopy reigned over the education sector for 4 long nightmarish years. 4 long nightmare years at the end of which A.K. Antony expressed his disgust over how minority institutions have let the people of Kerala down. A.K.Antony had to step down as Chief Minister, and Soopy went back to eating koi biriyani he made out of Kerala’s educational sector.

Hightlight: “Pennum Koiyiyum” in reference to this classic painting.

Do you remember P.Sankaran? The Karunakaran loyalist who ran Health for 4 years? Do you remember how he sleep walked through Kerala’s much touted health sector with no clue what he was speaking about. Do you remember him complaining about the fact that no one listens to him anywhere. Malabar owes a lot to rest of Kerala for sending Soopy and this gentleman to Thiruvanathapuram.

Do you remember Cherkalam Abdullah? the man who replaced and was succeeded by Paloli, to run the most critical experiment in the Kerala Model. Do you remember him making egg scramble out of the People’s Plan campaign initiated by the Nayanar government and referred by Nobel winning economists as the most important experiment in any third world country? He was another lucky dude from Malabar who escaped multiple corruption charges along with P.Sankaran and T.M. Jacob because the limelight of corruption and decadence, and the opposition’s ire was monopolized by another fine gentleman from Malabar – P.K.Kunjalikutty.

Now if education, health, and local self government seem unimportant to you, we should look at the Ministry of Industries.

Kunjalikutty demonstrates what he will do with Kerala come May 13th. Something like ‘up yours’

I’m sure you remember P.K.Kunjalikutty. And unlike Soopy, Sankaran, and Abdullah, Kunjalikutty has not gone anywhere. He will be back as a deputy Chief Minister if UDF wins this election. Haha the ides of May.

So you remember Balakrishna Pillai I guess. The Minister for Transportation, and long serving minister for power. He is in Poojapura central jail. He did file a review petition, and the court said fuck off.

Do you remember Kuriyartutti-Karappara? also known as T.M.Jacob’s route to join his fellow Kerala Congress man in Poojapura Jail.

Do you remember M.V.Raghavan? This gentleman spend his five long years as Minister for Co-operatives and Ports, as a long fight to win the control of Pariyaram Medical College. He did score a couple of points against arch nemesis CPM, but then he kept saying no to the vizhinjam port and then slept over it as pressure built up.

Do you remember Gowriamma? The question was less about whether Agriculture sector in Kerala will survive the monsoon, and more about will Gowriamma survive the rainy season. She is still there. Respect.

Do you remember M.A.Kuttapan? A pawn in the long squabble between the Karunakaran and Ommen Chandy groups. Thats all i remember about him.

Do you remember Kadavoor Sivadasan? The man who inherited a state without power cuts, and then totally derailed the Vision 2000 gains made by Pinarayi Vijayan as Minister for Power. Kadavoor though gained his share of notoriety by distributing pamphelts during election season to split Ezhava votes against Mercykutty Amma. He won the election, though the matter was taken up by the court. That remains his only achievement.

Do you remember K.Sudhakaran? Otherwise this video might help.

Do you remember Vakkom Purushu? The man who officiated during Ommen’s absence and was finance minister. And many of us think Veerappan was the biggest sandal wood smuggler. Then of course Andamans is not India, though cellular jail wasn’t the biggest crime that happened in Andamans.

That my fellow Malayalis was the UDF cabinet of 2001-2006.

I am skipping the treacherous Smart City Deal, the “GIM”mmick, Kodoth episode, Black Sands controversy, K.Karunakaran, Pappykutty, and totally skipping the 1991-96 cabinet with the likes of Musthafa, Pillai, Padmarajan, and Ommen.

The choice in front of the electorate in Kerala is amply clear.  Have things changed in the UDF? How did the UDF perform in the opposition? Can Ramesh Chennithala frame a coherent policy and articulate it? Have you ever seen him do that – Other than say things like “..if we come to power we will bring 2 smart cities” (one in Puthupally and the other in Mavelikkara ofcourse). Cannot sum up the Ommen Chandy opposition’s performance better than this –

കേരളത്തിലെ പ്രതിപക്ഷത്തിന്റെ പ്രവര്‍ത്തനം അല്‍പത്തരങ്ങളുടെ ആകെത്തുകയാണ്. രാഷ്ട്രീയ കാരണങ്ങളാല്‍ ചില മാധ്യമങ്ങള്‍ ഈ അല്‍പത്തരങ്ങളെ ആഘോഷമാക്കി മാറ്റുന്നുവെന്നു മാത്രം.”

Berly summarizes it with a classic curtain raiser,

കേരളത്തില്‍ നിയമസഭാ തിരഞ്ഞെടുപ്പു കഴിഞ്ഞു എന്നും നമ്മളെല്ലാവരും കൂടി ഉമ്മന്‍ ചാണ്ടിയുടെ നേതൃത്വത്തിലുള്ള സര്‍ക്കാരിനെ വോട്ടു ചെയ്ത് വിജയിപ്പിച്ചു നിര്‍ത്തിയിരിക്കുകയാണെന്നും ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ സര്‍ക്കാര്‍ കാലാവധി കഴിഞ്ഞിറങ്ങുന്ന മുറയ്‍്ക്ക് ആ ടീം കയറി ഭരണം തുടങ്ങുമെന്നുമുള്ള കാര്യങ്ങള്‍ ഞാന്‍ മാത്രമേ അറിയാത്തതായുള്ളോ അതോ നിങ്ങളും അറിഞ്ഞിട്ടില്ലേ ?

ഇന്നലത്തെ ബജറ്റിനെപ്പറ്റിയുള്ള യുഡിഎഫുകാരുടെ പ്രതികരണം കണ്ടപ്പോള്‍ മുതലാണ് എനിക്കു സംശയം തോന്നിത്തുടങ്ങിയത്. ബാലകൃഷ്ണപിള്ള അകത്തുപോയി. പാമൊലിന്‍ കേസിലേക്ക് ഉമ്മന്‍ ചാണ്ടിയെക്കൂടി വലിച്ചിടാന്‍ മുസ്തഫ ആഞ്ഞു ശ്രമിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. കുരിയാര്‍കുറ്റി-കാരപ്പാറ പദ്ധതി അഴിമതി കേസില്‍ ജേക്കബിന്റെ കാര്യവും കയ്യാലപ്പുറത്താണ്. കുഞ്ഞാലിക്കുട്ടി സാഹിബ് ഐസ്ക്രീം കേസില്‍ പാറിപ്പറന്നു നില്‍ക്കുകയാണ്. അഥവാ മണ്ടന്മാരായ നമ്മള്‍ വോട്ടു ചയ്തു വിജയിപ്പിച്ചാലും യുഡിഎഫില്‍ ഗൗരിയമ്മയും മാണിസാറുമല്ലാതെ വല്ലവരും പുറത്തുണ്ടാവുമോ എന്നുറപ്പു പറയാറായിട്ടില്ല. മുഖ്യമന്ത്രിയാവാന്‍ റെഡിയാണെന്ന മട്ടില്‍ വയലാര്‍ രവി ഗദ്ഗദങ്ങള്‍ പുറപ്പെടുവിക്കുന്നുണ്ട്. എല്ലാവരും അകത്തുപോകുന്ന സാഹചര്യം വന്നാല്‍ കെ.മുരളീധരനു പോലും സ്വപ്നങ്ങള്‍ നെയ്യേണ്ടി വരും.

The choice is not roundabout. It is clear. If you are voting for your caste or your religion, none of the above matters. Nor does 1991-1996 or 2001-2006. And we’ll see the clear divisions across districts with CPM carrying the southern districts and the north and madhya Keralam voting for the right. A very plausible scenario.

But if you are looking for a government which hits the right buttons with a 20 year vision for the state, which does not sell out our precious assets and our land, which has clear policies for human development and the ability to execute that on multiple fronts, which does not bow to the pressures of retrograde caste and religious organizations, which has a cabinet of people who know what they are talking about, which makes Kerala rank consistently as the best state in India – You might want to put some effort, drink some coffee, take a deep breath, and try to remember 2006. And try to remember what we went through as a group of helpless people with no semblance of a government. Because otherwise, if history is any indicator, things will fall apart and the center will not hold. 2011-2016 will be a nightmare.

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12 Responses to Kerala Elections: Do you remember 2006?

  1. scorpiogenius March 10, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    You’ve stolen a march on me BVN. Was just about giving finishing touches on my post on VS’s 5 years when you’ve published this. Well, I’ve something totally different to say, its all about this Govt and not the previous ones.

    Whatever, I’ve a feeling this one isn’t going to be a landslide like the Parliament Election results or the previous 100-40 scenario. You must be optimistic 😉

  2. bvn March 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    This post was more of a rant against our collective forgetfulness. like once we argued on your blog, I think this is arguably the best government Kerala has seen. I plan to do a constructive post on that. But first I’ll look forward to your post.

  3. NDS March 12, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    Hey Blog looks great…

    Curious to know if you have any particular aversion for the people from Malabar.

    Also,Iam not sure if you noticed,but the stint of the Antony Led UDF Govt was only 3.5 years .Also Many Ministers changed portfolios during this short stint.

    How come a genious like you missed such minute but important details when you have had enough time to analyse the brains of the ministers..

    True that some of the ministers you mentioned keep a low profile ,but they must have their own reasons to do that.Btw ,I have been following the kerala politics btw 2001-2006,I never heard minister cry about people not hearing his words!!

    If the LDF led govt was glorious enough,they would still come back in power…No worries.

  4. scorpiogenius March 12, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    We’ll expect a ‘Can Shashi Tharoor lose in Trivandrum’ kinda analysis here. I don’t think I can put the scalpel on it as you do; my scope is compacted to just a handful of factors like investment, jobs and so on. You have a wide-angle view and I hope to see the one on yours soon.

  5. leo March 15, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    hello sir.. congress never had a home minster who wrote Police as “POLLICE”.

  6. Karthik March 15, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    LOL..Who can forget Balakrishna Pillai..always he used to get a heart attack when the judgement was given in court..

    For me Kerala will only develop only if the atrocious labor unions are dealth with an iron hand…Kerala must learn from Gujarat..

  7. Shine March 23, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    When Omman chandy was the chief minister he did not given even the protocol respect to Leader Karunakaran, not allowed him to attend the functions in which Priminister and President attended as a former chief minister. The same chandi excempt leader from Pamolein case now everybody know it is not becuase of his love to Karunakaran but to escape himself. He is a fox in lamps skin. Karunakaran is a gentleman that is why he sheilded him eventhough he is rival. Now it is the reaping time for this manorama boy. A real Rubberised product. “elderly youth”
    Sambavami yuge

  8. santhosh Mahadevan March 24, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    I am under a dilemma – I know my vote is quite valuable, but to whom should I vote?

    I do not want to waste my vote for an individual who is aged more than 70. How much output one can expect from him. It is quite unfortunate, in India, the STAR value for a politician comes only after he attains the age of 80. Be it Bajpayee, Manmohan Singh, Advani, Achumavan, Gouriamma, or MK Raghavan!!!

    It is time for them to have the rest. In every meeting, you can see the CM, Achumavan sleeping…. Now a days, he gives interviews and speaks in election gathering with both eyes closed.

    When a person is sleeping in meetings, how can he give or take decisions? How can he lead?

    I would have still voted for him, if he had functioned in the same style he has done after the Panchayat elections in last five years….. Be it rupees 2.00 rice or jailing of Balakrishna Pillai, what he has shown the last six months, is just an election Gimmick to hook the short memory of a common Malayalee. I only pity for them!!!

    Achumavan talks about Kunjalikutty’s Ice-cream case – What he is doing in the case of Sasi, which has happened at his own party court yard. It is always easy to the dirt at someones court and keep the eyes closed on the fingers point towards you!!!

    Last time I voted for Achumavan trusting him on his promise to arrest the VIP of Kiliroor with 24 hours and parade him/her in streets of Kerala. But, Even after 5 years, the VIP mystry is still holds good and still garnering vote in its name!!!

    I equate Pinarayi Vijayan to Karunakaran. With firm decisions and iron hand, I am sure, he would have taken Kerala much faster forward. But, Achumavan has smartly hooked him in Lavalin case……. Only the one who works gets the hand dirtied!!! Achumavan has slept for 4 and half months. How can you get the hands dirtied in sleep or if does nothing?

    Gouriamma and MK Raghavan, can’t even walk or speak. They often do not attend party or UDF meetings due to ill-health. … But still want to be MLAs and if elected, I am sure they will be the Ministers for all of us!!! We have several such CARTOONS in this 2011 Kerala elections!!

    Fortunately, some good sense prevailed on Ravi to withdraw the candidature of his daughter from Kottayam. When Karunakaran was alive, he was the one always spoke loud about the SON-Daughter politics. The only difference between UDF and LDF is that, in UDF, it is more obvious and in LDF, it is done more quietly. The LDF government was run by the son mafia gangs of Sreemathy Teacher, Achumavan, Kodiyerri and Balan. Their doings are even more damaging than Murali-Padmagda gang!!! Like in China, one cannot criticize the LDF kid gangs – their SFI/DYFI or infamous BLUE shirt fame Nokkukoolies will handle you!!!

    Let us make this election be the last one and hence memorable for Kunjalikutties, Mani Congress, NSS, Natesha Guru’s SNDP, Jacob Congress, Pillai Congress, Thomas Congress, Congress-S, Socialist Janata, etc etc. These small parties are only of nuisance value and borne to generate some news for our media!!!

    For a change let us not listen to the crap of Religious mafia lead by Madani, some Orthodox Bishops, Natesha Gurus, NSS and musliars!!

    Let us not go behind the saints in politics like AK Antony, Omman Chandy and VM Sudeeran, who just preach values and does nothing.

    Each time we need to elect a new MLA/MP/Leader and let us not stick with the same idiotic face every-time. Give the ladies (But not the written-off faces of Shobhana, Sreemathy and Padmada gangs) and the youths a chance to prove their points and worth.

  9. bvn March 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    @Santosh, going by you logic, I tried Shashi Tharoor last time. For lack of a better word, he turned out to be a crook.

  10. rrk March 31, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    What V.S has done in last 6 months could have been done through out the last 5 yrs. Why did he wait? He should have performed for the state and not for elections? Both the parties in Kerala have forgotten that service is the best way forward. Narendra Modi knows that and people in his state support him no matter how hard 10th Janpath is trying to change that. Kerala govt. should consists of ppl who are willing to serve the land and not worried about who else is rising within your party or what should i complain against my opposition. saying that…i feel its better to abstain from voting this time around..

  11. Anannd April 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    @santhosh Mahadevan: People over 70 are waste?

  12. ARUN May 16, 2011 at 11:50 pm #

    Rahul is nothing.. A glorified buffoon with Z+ category security. Current situation is almost 20% of the Hindu votes were consolidated and cast their votes to LDF , another 5% ware consolidated in favor of BJP TO PREVENT A Muslim & Christian majority ruled govt. I Kerala. That is the reason congress has defeated. The places where minority community has more influence there UDF won with support of Muslim League and Mani congress. You can see the current situation out of 72 seats in UDF 49 are from Muslims and Christen. Hindu representation is only 23. Around 30%. A major community like Hindu have become minority in the assembly and the cabinet. Of course this situation is very dangerous and will become more critical in future. So this is the right time to keep away all the inter competition between NSS, SNDP, KPMS, DALIT ORGANIZATIONS, RSS, HINDU IKYAVEDI, VHP, ARYA SAMAJAM and hold there hands together and fight for the community. Keep away all the stinging competition and ego having with each other. Do not stand for there selfishness, stand for Hindu. Otherwise one day Hindu will become slavers of these people. Right now also there is enough members from Hindu community to become a Devaswam Minister. In near future a Minister from Christian or Muslim League will become the minister of Devaswam. Beware of the circumstances ahead.

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