Monday, May 16, 2011

Psycho-analysis of UDF performance

By Shevlin Sebastian

Photo: The former Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan

A couple of months ago, when the UDF launched their campaign for the Kerala Assembly elections, there was a sense of overconfidence on their part. “They were too sure they would win handsomely,” says psychologist Prakash Chandra. “The electorate could sense this.”

But what really impacted the people was the in-fighting among the UDF constituents over seat-sharing. “The mind-set of the voters is that they crave stability,” says Prakash. “They felt that if they voted the UDF to power, they will not provide a strong government.”

The people were also taken aback when Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President Ramesh Chennithala was suddenly touted as a possible chief minister, instead of Oommen Chandy. “The electorate were not sure about Chennithala’s qualities as a leader,” says Prakash. “It took some time before Chandy regained his position as Chief Ministerial aspirant. But by then the damage was done.”

Even the LDF sowed confusion when there was talk that Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan would not be fielded for the elections. “They lost a few seats because of this,” says Prakash.

Apart from a stable government, the voters are looking for a strong leader. The psychologist says that Achuthanandan impressed the people with his principled stand on many issues. One example: he reopened the investigation into the ice-cream parlour scandal, in which Indian Union Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty was implicated. “They admired his decisiveness,” says Prakash. “People are like children, who want a strong father to lead them.”

In this election, there has been a change in attitude on the part of the voters. “For the first time, young people have won,” says Prakash. “The voters feel that the youth can provide new ideas and energy to spur development in the state. It is a sign of confidence among the populace.”

So what should the UDF do to change the negative mind-set against them, now that they have managed to wrest power from the LDF?

“Provide a stable government,” says Prakash. “Secondly, Oommen Chandy should lead boldly from the front.”

(The New Indian express, Kerala)

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