Local Self Government (LSG) institutions in India refer to the governmental jurisdiction below the level of the State and play a crucial role in governance and administration as they directly engage with people at the grassroots. The 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution gave recognition to the local governments and empowered them with powers and responsibilities. As of 2017, the country has 267,428 local government bodies, of which 262,771 are rural and 4657 are urban. For a country as vast, diverse and populous as India, the role of these grassroot-level organisations is of prime importance as they play a major role in taking both the State and the Central government policies to the lowest ranks of the society. Even though the success rate of the LSG institutions varies from state to state, they have developed into an integral part of our federal system over the years.
The LSG institutions of Kerala are often considered as one of the most robust LSG systems present in the country with people’s active participation in governance. Timely elections are one of the prerequisites for keeping these institutions healthy. Elections to the LSG institutions in its present form began in Kerala from 1995 soon after the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution of India. Consequent to the amendments, the State established a three-tier system of LSGs consisting of Grama Panchayats, Block Panchayats and District Panchayats. There are two additional wings namely, Municipality for major towns and Municipal Corporation for major cities.
Even though a direct relation cannot be derived between the LSG and the State Legislative Assembly elections, local elections can shed light on the prevailing political trends in the State and the perception of people on various election related issues.
The Centre of Public Policy Research (CPPR) conducted an online survey between December 4 and December 14, 2020 with a broader objective to understand the political landscape of the State. The survey polled over 710 respondents from Kerala to gauge people’s perceptions about the politics of the State and various factors that could impact the local body elections.
Click here to read the report: Opinion Survey on Kerala Local Body Election 2020: Public Perception on the Political Dynamics of the Grassroots