Is Kerala at the threshold of a new era of democratic governance? So it appears from the first pronouncements of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He has pledged to provide a people’s government which functions in the interests of all, without partisan and sectarian considerations.
Kerala prides itself in its centuries-old secular traditions, which were strengthened by the Renaissance movement, the high point of which was Sri Narayana Guru’s ideal of a model state where all live together without caste differences and religious hatred. But scratch the skin, and often caste and religious identities surface not only in individuals but also political parties and media institutions.
Although political and sectarian loyalties run deep, a section of the people has been ensuring change of government at every election by switching from one combination to another. In this year’s election, besides the traditional rivals for power, the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance offered itself as a third alternative.