There will be greater analysis & unpacking of the LDF wave (തരംഗം) - with numbers & statistics - in #KeralaElections. But as a Malayalee - who resides outside the state but return home for every election to vote - having observed & followed the debates, my own teeny-weeny bit 1/
For starters, this is indeed a wave, which has finally led to the state bucking the established trend of pendulum swing between alliances: a ruling alliance returning to power after a 5-year stint of 91 seats, by increasing it to 99 2/
Surely the number, 99 by itself is not entirely new. Post-Emergency, in 1977 elections, the Congress under K.Karunakaran had won over 100 seats. After establishment of the Twin Alliance/Two Fronts system in Kerala, UDF under AK Antony had won 99 seats in 2001...3/
...and in 2006, LDF under VS Achuthanandan had won by winning 98 seats. So, if seen purely by numbers, the final tally of LDF is not something new. But the significance is that never has a ruling alliance retained power by increasing its seat share. 3/
While CPI-M (which includes Independents supported by it) increased its seats from 56 to 66, CPI's number is 17 as against 19 last time (but the total number of seats it contested was down from 27 to 25). All parties in the LDF alliance have won at least 1 seat 4/
While in UDF, though the seats Congress contested a increased, their tally has been down by 1 from last time. The Muslim League, the other major alliance partner, while getting 3 extra seats to contest, won only 15 compared to 18 in 2016 /5
But dig a little more beyond these stats & even in seats the UDF won, the winning margins've considerably reduced. This includes some of their established strongholds & for their frontline leaders contested. For e.g.: Oomen Chandy in Puthuppally & Kunhalikkutty in Vengara /6
This has also significant impacted in IUML strongholds in Malappuram District. For instance, Najeeb Kanthapuram won by the barest of margins from Perinthalmanna - 38 votes. 7/
This has been repeated ad nauseam but crises & natural disasters one after other during the tenure of the LDF Govt. - Okhi Cyclone, Nipah virus outbreak, 2 big floods, & COVID pandemic - & its resilience in providing welfare & income support've contributed to the mandate 8/
Free food kits, welfare pensions of various kinds, Power Cut free, infrastructure development through @kiifb, upgrading health & education, rejuvenation of state PSUs....the list is long & expected from a responsive Government. Further, not just doing but also seen to be doing 9/
@kiifb Another vital factor - again something that has been said ad nauseam & will be underlined in days to come - is the fortitude & decisive leadership of @vijayanpinarayi as the Chief Minister, steering the ship through the storms... 10/
@kiifb @vijayanpinarayi Given the absence of a leadership face in the opposition, the CPI-M & LDF reaped dividends by projecting Pinarayi Vijayan as their campaign face.

Reminded of @manoramaonline's description of 'മിന്നൽപ്പിണറായി' (Thunderbolt Vijayan) after CPIM Kerala State Conference in '04 11/
Such a personality centric campaign may also seem to've been taken out of BJP's electoral playbook & there is a bit of truth in it. But having a leadership face is helpful as the voter was able to put a face to the Govt., making it relatable to them 12/
For e.g., the CM's daily televised evening press conferences during crisis beginning from the time of floods in 2018, not only brought him into Kerala homes, but also sensitively provided the caring touch. That he & his Govt. cared. Again not just doing but seen to be doing 13/
Nonetheless, it isn't surprising that this has also rightfully generated debates on authoritarian streaks & tendencies in governance.

But given the CPI-M's organizational structure, of ensuring proper accountability, one surely hopes that there'll be checks & balance 14/
Some of the regional variances in the wave've also been significant, signalling positive politics & message by the voters:

- KK Rema's win in Vadakara - candidature supported by UDF. TP Chandrasekaran & debates on political violence'll continue to remain relevant 15/
- The loss of Jose K. Mani in Pala - even amidst Kerala Congress-M's impact in Kottayam district - also shows that voters' strong inclination for elected candidates to complete their full-term & not rather keep flip-flopping 16/
Jose K. Mani had resigned mid-way from Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha at various points. This was contrasted with the image of Mani C.Kappan, who had won a by-election from Pala in 2019 from NCP ticket & had rightfully asked to be fielded there. But denied by CPI-M leadership 17/
Kappan's split with the NCP & hitching his fortunes with the UDF came with considerable risks but his belief that 'Pala is his heart' (ചങ്കാണ് പാലാ) was rightly recognised by the voters (this message was also on the icing of the cake he cut after the victory) 18/
- Shreyans Kumar's loss in Kalpetta is significant. In 2016, CPI-M candidate CK Sasheendran had a glittering win against him. But 5 years down the line, Shreyans' shift to LDF & CPM's campaign for him carried dilemmas, which the voters seem to've termed as duplicitous 19/
Electoral wins are the sum of various factors/issues, and some tactical & policy moves have also contributed to this mandate:

- The CPM's decision to set term limits for MLAs - & bench those who completed 2 successive terms - has paid off. 20/
33 MLAs including heavyweights like Thomas Issac, G. Sudhakaran, AK Balan, Sreeramakrishnan & Raju Abraham were replaced in one go, with doubts being raised in some quarters on the winnability of the replacement candidates. 21/
Similarly, the CPI also introduced term limits (maximum of 3 terms as MLA) thus seeing new & even some young faces.

This turned out to be a masterstroke, as any liabilities or those facing anti-incumbency in the constituencies could be weeded out 22/
The replacement candidates - including some young faces - carry experience, having cut their teeth in student, youth & other mass fronts, or having been elected to local bodies.

Youngest of them, Sachin Dev (28 yrs. & State Secy., SFI) winning in Baluserry, Kozhikkode Dist. 23/
Similarly, George Linto in Thiruvambady, M. Vijin in Kalliassery, KV Sumesh (trouncing IUML's KM Shaji in Azhikkode), Mohammed Riyas in Beypore, H. Salam in Ambalappuzha, PP Chittaranjan in Alappuzha, P Nandakumar in Ponnani, Daleema Jojo in Aroor... 24/
....MS Arunkumar in Mavelikkara, P. Prasad in Cherthala, KK Ramachandran in Puthukkad, P. Balachandran in Thrissur, etc. are some of the new faces who have triumphed. 25/
Another policy-based decision that reaped electoral dividends regionally was the extension of OBC status to Nadar Christians.

This looks to have benefitted extensively in Thiruvananthapuram district… 26/
While this extended CPM's winning run in Kattakkada, Parassala & Neyyattinkara, the trouncing of @KSSabari1983 in the Congress pocket borough of Aruvikkara (Aaryanaad before Delimitation) that proved to be the crowning glory. The selection of CPM candidate also tactical 27/
The huge victory margins of @shailajateacher & @vijayanpinarayi have been records, of sorts.

Having said that, there're 2 results IMO that's impressive & need special emphasis, by taking into account the contest's magnitude, vociferous campaign, & rivals in opposition /28
2 young, but now seasoned CPM leaders.

(i) @MBRajeshCPM, for carrying out a dedicated campaign & truimphing over @VTBALRAM in what turned out to be tough & neck-and-neck contest in Thrithala, in Palakkad district. Balram had been winning there since 2011. 29/
(ii) P. Rajeev's win over VEAbdul Gafoor in Kalamassery in Ernakulam district is the other result. That IUML fielded Gafoor, the son of sitting MLA & former PWD minister, VK Ibrahim Kunju who is facing criminal charges for corruption in the building 30/
of a flyover in Palarivattom in Kochi city under his watch, was seen as brazen. So much so, IUML's district leadership & their base in the constituency had publicly taken a stand against the candidature.

The result also reflects the local IUML base's anger & non-cooperation 31/
It is also worth noting that MB Rajesh & P. Rajeev, along with KN Balagopal (who won from Kottarakkara, Kollam district) & VN Vasavan (from Ettumaanoor, Kottayam district) had ended up on the losing side in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

So, the wins are indeed sweet. 32/
Another contest to note was Xavier Chittilappally versus @Anil_Akkara in Wadakkancherry (Thrissur district), with the former winning it back to LDF fold after the latter's win there in 2016, by a wafer thin margin of 43 votes 33/
It also looks like the LDF received support across age groups, gender, caste-community & religious lines.

Hopefully, @LoknitiCSDS-@the_hindu post-poll survey will give more accurate numbers in the coming days. 34/
Whether it be the gold smuggling case, things surrounding the LIFE housing scheme for poor, intrigue surrounding the deep sea fishing agreement with EMCC, or others, LDF's prospects do not seem to've been affected or significantly impacted 35/
However, the loss of Fisheries minister, J. Mercykutty Amma in Kundara - the only minister in LDF Govt. who was in the contest to have met this fate - will leave the deep sea fishing agreement issue open-ended 36/
Nonetheless, that CM's office being dragged into controversies in the last year has been acknowledged as a drop in guard & oversight on governance. It could be something that CPM & LDF would address to duly rectify 37/
The allegations & charges by the opposition didn't stick or resonate with the people, as the CPM & LDF countered it by laying emphasis on how the Govt. ensured that 'fires in the hearth remained alive', during times of distress & crisis. 38/
IMO, the electorate was motivated by 2 intertwined factors:

1. Sympathy with a Govt. that had to battle one crises after the other without any respite in its 5 year term.

2. Trust in the Govt., whose responsive capacities helped in providing succour & support. 39/
These intertwined factors were kind of juxtaposed to each other, also reflected in @vijayanpinarayi's 1st press conference after the results:

"We had trust in the people, & the people trusted us"

In distressing times, trust & confidence in a Govt. is a big asset 40/
That Kerala has always possessed high levels of state capacity through the years is well known. But never before has that been tested so severely than in last 5 years. The LDF Govt., was able to further build & upgrade that state capacity, & thus, it also helped politically 41/
Missed adding this to the earlier tweets in the thread on fielding youngsters: the calculated decision to field them - amidst the Doubting Thomases - also illustrates the cultivation of a 2nd line of leadership in the CPM and CPI. 42/
As both parties move to state conferences - and party Congresses - expect emergence & development of more young leaders into higher levels of organizational leadership. 43/
But one thing is clear: as @Roshanjnu says in his takeaway here…, the epicentre of Left politics’ll shift to Kerala (though I think it may’ve happened already). 44/
Pinarayi Vijayan’s stature is also going grow nationally. Note how he was the CPM's, & Left's star campaigner during the elections. It was VS Achuthanandan who was the big draw & much sought after in campaign rallies & meetings even till 2016. 45/
The result also lays bare the limits of religious polarisation & the politics over faith. The overt & covert weaponisation and milking of Sabarimala has also run its course. Even the CPM & LDF has chosen to tread cautiously. Similarly, bogey of 'Love Jihad'. 46/
Such was BJP's drubbing received that despite marginal increase in its vote share from 2016 (of 0.7%), it even lost its lone seat of Nemom won 5 years ago. Closure of Account, as CPM put it. 47/
Kummanam Rajasekharan's defeat came from: strong triangular contest, non-receipt of neutral votes won by O. Rajagopal, minority voters channeling their votes to Sivankutty, etc.

O. Rajagopal's own jibes & positions only further weakened the BJP. 48/
Similarly, despite being able to pull in neutral, non-party votes in Palakkad, Metroman E. Sreedharan's loss - despite big leads in most part of counting - needs to be understand as the weakness of the BJP outside the municipality limits. 49/
Factional feuds & internal bickering, the near impossibility of the BJP to significantly replicate its pet strategy elsewhere to poach other party leaders, or induct popular faces from outside party-Sangh fold've been serious handicaps. 50/
Wrt the Congress & UDF, inspite of @chennithala's performing creditably as leader of opposition, consistently raising issues to bring the Govt. under scrutiny, the internal strife, lack of organisational network (especially for Congress)... 51/
...& heavy dependence on @RahulGandhi & the High Command didn't resonate with the electorate. Selection of young candidates was creditable but it ended up mostly as mere change of deck chairs, after the wake up call in local body polls. 52/
In fact, it wouldn't be out of place to argue that Congress & UDF only began their preparations after the reversals in local body polls.

In the end, against an extremely responsive govt. that heavily invested in state capacity, all efforts ended up becoming seriously short 53/
Outside these 3 major elections, the electorate's near repudiation of other players is also to be noted. Whether the rabble rousing PC George, or 'puritanist' corporate formations like 20-20, tall claims remained merely that & nothing more 53/
Even as 20-20 finished 4th in most constituencies where they contested, they did end up cutting into UDF votes in their traditional areas in Kochi & Kunnathunad constituencies in Ernakulam districts, thus aiding wins for the LDF. 54/
Heartening facet yet again - while the community leaders (like NSS, SNDP) & Church (various denominations with multitude of pastoral letters) took positions, the voters in Kerala've asserted their own agency in making political and electoral choices 55/
Clear & consistent positions on issues like CAA-NRC as well as politics of redistribution & welfare have also seen minorities reposing their faith in LDF (even if that mayn't be entirely reflected in final numbers). 56/
Finally, two cents on the coverage & analysis of the #KeralaElections from Delhi. @harikrishnan_91 has written on ‘northsplaining’ & stereotyping in reportage… My own little beef (pun intended) is with preconceived notions informing analysis. 57/
Rather, such fixed preconceived notions often end up clouding analysis & limits proper assessments. For instance, Rahul Gandhi & Priyanka Gandhi's 'blazing the trail'-type of campaign was taken as the metric to measure the mood & boost Congress' chances. 58/
As the results've shown, those 'metrics' have ended up being redundant. Presence - or absence - of national leaders in campaigns don't necessarily swing voters, translate into votes, or determine final results. Good optics but desist from usage to make informed assessments. 59/
This long thread is my own reading & observations. Final numbers, figures & stats'll inform the granular narration. But as @vijayanpinarayi spoke in his presser y'day, people make assessments based on their own lived experiences. So'll conclude my take with that point. END/

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