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Elections In Kerala

1957 General Elections


The first elections to the Kerala Assembly were held from February 28 to March 11, 1957. Out of the total 126 seats, 11 seats were reserved for scheduled castes and one for scheduled tribes. The number of constituencies was 114, of which twelve were two-member ones. The electors numbered 7,514,626 and the total number of valid votes polled as 5,837,577. The Communist Party of India emerged as the largest single party in the Assembly with 60 seats. It was for the first time in the history of the world that the Communist party came to power through ballot. Five of the Independent candidates returned to the House had the support of the Communist Party in the elections and they, therefore, joined the communist Legislature party. The first popular ministry of Kerala headed by Shri E.M.S. Namboodiripad, leader of the Communist Party, was sworn in on 5th April 1957. This Government did not last long. An agitation known as “liberation struggle” was launched by the Congress-led opposition and the president issued on 31 st July 1959 a proclamation under article 356 of the Constitution dissolving the Assembly and introducing Presidents rule in the State.


1960 Elections


First time, the polling throughout the state was held on a single day. There was an electoral alliance between the Congress, the P.S.P. and the Muslim League. The results of the elections were as follows: Congress-63, PSP-20, Muslim League-11, CPI-29 and Three Independents-. Shri Pattam A Thanu Pillai of the P.S.P. took over on February, 22 as the coalition Chief Minister leading a council of eleven ministers. Shri. R. Sankar of the Congress was designated as Deputy Chief Minister. Shri. Pattam A Thanu Pillai relinquished the reins of power on September 25, 1962, consequent on his appointment as Governor of the Punjab. Shri. R. Sankar took over as Chief Minister the next day. Shri Sankar continued as Chief Minister for about two years. Following some differences of opinion with the Chief Minister, the Home Minister Shri. P.T. Chacko resigned on 16th February 1964. A political crisis was precipitated in September 1964 which resulted in the formation of a dissident group in the Congress Legislature Party. This group consisting of 15 MLAs lent support to a no-confidence motion moved against the Sankar ministry on September 8. The motion was carried and the legislature dissolved leading to Presidents rule for the third time in the state. And the dissidents formed a new party, Kerala Congress.


Abortive Elections of 1965


A fresh delimitation of the constituencies increased their number to 133. The INC alone fought the elections in all seats without any alliance. In the meantime the Communist party had been split into two, viz. the CPI and the CPI (M). The CPI had electoral understanding with the S.S.P. and the Muslim League. The CPI was in alliance with the R.S.P. which had an understanding with the Kerala Congress. The INC won 36 seats, the CPM-40, the S. S. P.-13, the ML-6, the CPI-3, the Kerala Congress-23 and Independents 12. As the final post-election picture emerged, no single party could form a ministry commanding majority. Thus the 1965 elections became abortive. Once again on March 25, Presidents rule was invoked for the fourth time.


1967 Elections


Kerala next went to the polls two years later along with the March 1967 General elections. A new polarization of political forces had taken place leading to new electoral alliances. Politically the most potent factor was the new United Front of the CPI (M), the CPI, the ML, the RSP the Samyuktha Socialist Party, the karshaka Thozhilali Party and the Kerala Socialist party. Then the INC faced the elections single-handedly. The Seven-party CPI (M) led United Front won a decisive victory at the hustings. It could win a convicting majority in the Assembly. The second Namboodiripad ministry was thus formed on 6th March 1967. This ministry soon ran into rough weather and Chief Minister Shri Namboodiripad resigned on October 24 1969. A fresh alignment of political forces within the Assembly led to the formation of an eight-member cabinet headed by Shri. C. Achutha Menon of the CPI on 1st November 1969. The ruling alliance consisted of the CPI, the ISP, the ML, the RSP and the Kerala Congress. For the first time in the legislative history of the State, the cabinet was led by a personality who was not a sitting member of the Assembly, but a member of the Rajya Sabha. In a by-election held on April 21, 1970 Shri. Menon was returned to the Assembly from Kottarakkara. In the meantime a split occurred in the ISP and three members of the party joined the PSP. In order to avert a political crisis Shri. C. Achutha Menon recommended the dissolution of the Assembly on June 26. He tendered the resignation of the Cabinet on August 1, 1970. The State was forthwith placed under Presidents rule for the fifth time.


Assembly Elections in 1970


Elections were next held on 17th September 1970. The allies of the ruling front now included the INC, the CPI, the RSP, the ML and the PSP. It secured 79 seats. Shri C. Achutha Menon formed his second ministry on October 4, 1970. The INC and the KC which were allied of the ruling combine did not join the ministry at first, but extended support from without The fourth Kerala Legislative Assembly had the distinction of being the first Assembly in the State to complete its normal Constitutional term. Moreover, the normal term of the Assembly which expired on October 21, 1975 was extended on three occasions over six month periods during the Emergency


1977 Elections


A fresh delimitation of Assembly Constituencies was effected in 1974. As a result, on the eve of March 1977 elections, Kerala had, as at present, 140 Assembly seats. As in the previous election the main contestants were the ruling front and the opposition front. The former represented an alliance of five recognized political parties viz., the Congress, the CPI, the ML, the RSP, the KC and the unrecognized political party of P.S.P. This combine was supported by the National Democratic Party (NDP), a newly-formed political projection of the Nair Service Society. It was the general election after the withdrawal of Emergency imposed on June 26, 1975. Despite the polarization, straight fights were confined to only 33 constituencies. Elections were held on 19th March 1977. The ruling front secured 111 . A ministry was formed with Shri K. Karunakaran of Congress as Chief Minister on March 25, 1977. However, Shri. Karunakaran had to resign on April 25, 1977, following certain references by the Kerala High Court in what came to be known as the Rajan case. Then under the leadership of Shri. A.K. Antony who as not then an M.L.A., a 15 member ministry assumed office on April 27, 1977.


Shri. Antony was later elected from Kazhakuttom in a bye-election held on October 22, 1977. Shri. Antony himself resigned on October 27, 1978 in protest against the stand taken by the Congress on the Chikkamagalur bye-election in which Smt. Indira Gandhi was the candidate of the party. Shri. P.K. Vasudevan Nair of the CPI became the Chief Minister when the next ministry was sworn in on October 29, 1978, but his ministry also resigned on October 7, 1979 in order to create an atmosphere conducive to the formation of a Left Democratic Front in Kerala. Shri. C.H. Mohammed Koya of Muslim League assumed office on October 12, 1979, but the four-member ministry was forced to resign on December 1, 1979. The Assembly was dissolved and Presidents rule was invoked in Kerala for the sixth time and it continued up to 24th January 1980.


Assembly Polls – 1980


The Congress had in the meantime split into two the INC (I) and the INC (U). The Kerala Congress also followed suit, the splinter groups being the KC (M) and the KC (J). The ML (O) assumed the name AIML. When the January 1980 polls were looming large on the horizon, political alignments in the State had undergone a sea-change involving a drastic regrouping of major political parties. The stage was set for the eventual emergence of two political combines the United Democratic Front (UDF) consisting of the INC (I), the IUML, the KC (J), the PSP, the NDP and the Socialist Republican Party (SRP a new political organization of the SNDP), and the Left Democratic Front comprising, the CPM, the CPI, the INC (U), the KC (M), the KC (PG), the AIML and the RSP. The UDF had worked out seat adjustments with the Janatha Party in a number of constituencies, though they were locked in battle in some others.


The LDF won 93 seats and 4,832,481 votes. The UDF secured 46 seats and 4,426,669 votes The lone Independent candidate supported the LDF while it was in power. Shri. E.K. Nayanar of CPM, headed a 17 member ministry which was sworn in on 25th January 1980, revoking President s rule.


Despite the thumping majority for the LDF in the Assembly difference of opinion among the ruling partners culminated in the withdrawal of support, of 16th October 1981, to the ministry by the Congress (U). The ministry had then the majority of one member excluding the Speaker. And the ministry resigned on 20th October 1981, When the 8 member KC (M) withdrew its support to the Government. The Chief Minister tendered resignation and the next day the President took over the administration for the seventh time, placing the sixth Kerala Assembly in suspended animation.


Again a political realignment took place. The Congress (S) and the KC (M) joined the UDF. An eight-member UDF Ministry was sworn in on December 28, 1981 with Shri. K. Karunakaran of Congress (I) as Chief Minister. It was the twelfth ministry in Kerala since the formation of the State on November 1, 1956. Troubles began to rise again. The Congress (S) split into two factions, 16 members joining the Antony group [Congress (A)] and six remaining as members of the Chacko group. Three members of the five-member party lent support to the ministry. Thus the Government had then the lead of a single member who was the Speaker. On 15th March 1982 Shri Lonappan Nambadan of KC (M) withdrew his support to the ministry and consequently the Karunakaran ministry resigned on March 17. The Assembly was dissolved on the advice of the outgoing Chief Minister and again the State fell under president's rule for the eighth time.


1982 Elections


The political alliances had undergone a further change when the Congress (A), the KC (M) and the Janata (G) jointed the UDF. The two political fronts emerged in the 1982 electoral arena were the UDF and the LDF. The UDF included seven parties viz., the INC (I), the IUML, the KC (M) the KC (J), the NDP, the SRP, the Janata (G), the RSP (S) and the NRSP. The DLP also declared support to the Front. The LDF comprised the CPM, the CPI, the Congress (S), the AIML, the RSP, the KC (S) a party formed by Shri Lonappan Nambadan, the DSP and the Lok Dal. The Janata party had seat adjustments with the LDF. The number of political parties in Kerala now rose to 25 as against five in 1957. The UDF won 77 seats, LDF won 63 seats. The UDF ministry with Shri K. Karunakaran as its leader, assumed office on March 24, 1982. The merger of the INC (I) and the INC (A) and of two factions of the Muslim League were the most important events during the regime of the UDF ministry. This was the second ministry in Kerala which could complete the full term of office


1987 Assembly Elections


The ninth elections to the eighth Kerala Assembly were held on 23rd March, 1987. The UDF and the LDF were, as usual, the two major political fronts. The UDF included the INC (I) the IUML, the KC (J), the KC (M), the NDP (P), the SRP (S) and the RSP (S). The LDF comprised the CPI (M) the CPI, the RSP, the IC (S), the Janata and the Lok Dal. And the third front consists of the BJP and the Hindu Munnani. A record number (764) of independent candidates was also in the fray. The LDF secured 78 seats ensuring a decisive majority in the House, UDF won 60 seats. A five member ministry with Sri. E.K. Nayanar as the Chief Minister was sworn in on 26th march 1987.


Assembly elections 1991


Having won a majority the UDF formed its cabinet with Shri.K. Karunakaran as the Chief Minister on 24-6-1991. Later the Chief Minister had to leave for United States for medical treatment consequent on a road accident. A few communal issues flared up during his absence and there was a hue and cry for a change of leadership. Although Shri. Karunakaran returned to the leadership, the clamour for change reached its crescendo with the ISRO spy scandal. This resulted in Shri. Karunakaran making an exit and Shri. A.K.Antony was sworn in as Chief Minister on 22-3-1995. Arrack Prohibition was the major political plan proposed by Shri. A.K. Antony. This was also made main issue for the next general elections held on 27-4-1996.


General Election 1996


Changes in the internal political scenario of the Kerala Congress surfaced in the last phase of the UDF ministry, Shri. T.M. Jaocb parted with the KC (M) and contested the next elections separately within the UDF. SRP and NDP disappeared as political entities, with the 1996 general elections. L.D.F. formed its ministry on 20-5-1996 under the leadership of Shri. E.K. Nayanar who was not an elected member of the assembly at that time. Later he was elected from Thalassery Constituency. As a measure of strengthening the process of decentralisation of power the number of ministers was reduced and a 14 member cabinet was sworn in.


2001 Elections


In the election held on May 10, 2001 the United Democratic Front consisting of Indian National Congress, Muslim League, Kerala Congress (M), R.S.P. (Bolshevik), Kerala Congress (Jacob), Kerala Congress(B), and J.S.S secured 99 seats in the Assembly. The electronic voting machine was used in 140 constituencies for the first time. The Eleventh Kerala Legislative Assembly was constituted on May 16, 2001 and an eight member coalition ministry headed by Shri A.K.Antony was sworn in on May 17, 2001. On August 29, 2004 Chief Minister Shri A.K.Antony submitted the resignation of his Ministry. Subsequently a new five member Ministry was formed with Shri Oommen Chandy as the Chief Minister on August 31, 2004. On September 5, 2004 the Ministry was expanded with the induction of fifteen more Ministers.


2006 Elections


The election to the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly was held on April 22, 29 and May 3, 2006. In the election, the Left Democratic Front secured a thumping majority. A nineteen member Ministry headed by Shri V.S. Achuthanandan was sworn in on May18, 2006. The first session of the Twelfth Kerala Legislative Assembly commenced on May 24, 2006. Shri K.Radhakrishnan was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly. The LDF won with 98 seats,.The 19 member LDF ministry was sworn into power on 18nth May 2006 with Shri.V.S.Achuthanandan as the Chief Minister.Shri. K. Radhakrishnan was elected as the speaker and deputy speaker is Shri. Jose Baby.


2011 Elections


The thirteenth legislative assembly election was held on 13 April 2011 to elect members of the 140 constituencies in Kerala Election results were released on 13 May 2011. The results proved to be one of the closest elections in Kerala's history, with the UDF beating the LDF by a margin of 4 seats. There are 2 major political coalitions in Kerala. The United Democratic Front (UDF) is the coalition of parties led by the Indian National Congress. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is the coalition of mainly the Leftist parties, led by Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M). Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) is also contesting in the state and fielded candidates. The 21st ministry headed by Shri. Oommen Chandy became Chief Minister of Kerala.

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