By Babu K Peter | Published: 08th August 2016

KOCHI: IN stark contrast to the common perception among political parties and Fronts that elaborate election campaigns could win over Malayalis, a recent study showed that voters in Kerala are not very easily amendable.

The post-election study on the recent Assembly election in Kerala, conducted by Kochi-based think tank the Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), reinforced the notion that the average Malayali has a rich and profound understanding of the political developments in the region.

The survey also indicated that Malayalis would rather be convinced about political rationale, than falling for religious aspects.

It was also found that the high-pitched campaign for the Assembly election had failed to have any significant influence on voters, who had shaped up their opinion on the evolving mode much before the campaign started.

“As much as 57 per cent of the voters had decided well in advance as to whom to vote for,” showed the study, and revealed that statements by religious and community leaders during the campaign did not influence voters.

According to 82 per cent of the voters, they were very clear about their decision to vote for the candidate of their choice – a very personal and private decision.

“It could be concluded from the results of the survey that voters in Kerala are conscious and aware of the various developments on the political front. It also shows that voters cannot easily be bought over by politicians and community/religious leaders and influenced through blitzkrieg campaigns,” said CPPR chairman D Dhanuraj.

With regard to the BJP-BDJS alliance, many believe that it is a short-term bet that is in sync with the public perception that the party formation was a temporary affair.

Even though the NDA garnered ten per cent of the votes –  much higher than in the previous Assembly election – it is going to be a big challenge for the party to sustain the momentum, going by the survey results.

The lack of trust and confidence in the BDJS among the voters need to be examined.

The other factors that contributed to the increase in the NDA’s vote share are the Modi factor, negligence meted out to the Hindu community by the other Fronts and the perceived ‘lack of difference’ between the LDF and the UDF.

The survey concludes that there is not much difference between the UDF and LDF, and that  the replacement of the government was based on the odds against the incumbent government.

“Even though there is resentment against both the Fronts, entry of a new Front into Kerala’s political scene cannot be based on the old equations that control the existing Fronts. Though the different castes and communities play a major role in public life, their influence is at a much lower level when it comes to the election front,” added Dhanuraj.

This article was published in The New Indian Express on 8th August 2016. Click here to view- Most Malayali voters unmoved by election campaigns, says study

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