CONFLICTIVE POLITICS- THE CURSE OF KERALA.
Prof. Joseph K. Alexander
Kerala has more potential for rapid economic growth, full employment, more per capita income and well being than Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka or Tamil Nadu. The high literacy (93.91 %), ubiquitous health care centers & facilities, longevity nearing 80, inflow of Rs. 40,000 crores per annum as expatriate’s remittances, very high consumption expenditure, highly educated & skilled unemployed (9 %), a cleaner and transparent governance of the State and better industrial relations augur a high kink in the growth graph of the State. Despite this favorable ambience, the Kerala phenomenon of high HDI (Human development Index) with growth less agriculture and industrial sectors is paradoxical. Its HDI is 0.0920. It is equal to the highest ranked country of the World- Norway. Yet its economy is languishing and its citizens are having an income much below their potential. I Place the LDF- UDF conflictive “politricks “as the main cause of this paradox.
Since the formation of the Kerala State on 1-11-1956, we had voted up thirteen legislature Assemblies and 21 ministries into power. There were 7 interludes of Presidential rule due to administration failures and lack of majority on the floor. The first four Govts. were majority party administrations. M/s E. M. S. Namoodiripad (CPI), Pattom ThanuPIlla (PSP), R. Sankar (INI) and of EMS (CPM) were the chief ministers.
The next Govt. of Sri, Achutha Menon was a coalition ministry of LDF (Left Democratic Government). It lasted only 10 months. He formed a new coalition ministry on 4-10-1970. It went to its full term. Of the 21 ministries only four lasted the full five year term. Menon’s was the first. After this ministry, all the ministries in Kerala were either of the LDF or of the UDF (United Democratic Front).
This new phenomenon is the splitting of political parties into splinter groups to gain more representation seats in the ministry and freedom to collect more kick backs from the Govt. spending of the various departments. For every purchase of the Govt. there is a normal discount or negotiated higher discount. This is never accounted. No wonder, Coalition ministries are now in vogue in all the Indian States and at the Center
In Kerala the LDF- UDF-LDF swing in the election-voting make the parties to be unscrupulous in leaving or joining a new coalition. What they want is the power and the kick backs. I am not saying that all politicians are corrupt. There must be experts for this in each group. In this conflicting milieu the parties oppose those in power to vote them out. For that, they oppose all programmes good and bad and make the good ones to appear bad in the eyes of the ranks. This is done by all, though more vociferously and effectively by the LDF.
While in other States, the MPs and MLAs of all hues join together to wring out funds and projects from the Central Government or outsiders, in Kerala the conflict is conspicuously displayed by opposing the projects brought up by either groups. Sri. T .V. Thomas, (CPI), when he was industries minister of Kerala, conducted a foreign tour to invite investments to Kerala. Sri. A K Antony conducted a GIM (Global Investment Meet) in 2003 and brought in around Rs. 26000 cr. worth MOUs for new investments in Kerala. The negotiations were forced to drag on for years. Now Mr.OOmmen Chandy conducted an “Emerging Kerala 2012” meet a couple of weeks ago. A number of MOUS are emerging. But the LDF started opposing it from the beginning and the flavor of the meet is forced to dissipate. Opposing everything for the sake of the Party is the Politricks. This is the curse of Kerala that prevent it from fast forward march of Economic growth. Even today it is our fate that we depend on other States for everything we need and consume.