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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The government and politics of Kerala,Governor,Chief Minister,Political Parties,Factionalism,Coalition politics,peasant movement,trade unionism

Structure of govt is important in political analysis

Structure of govt is almost similar to all Indian states except for a legislative council in some states

Institution of govt structure orks differently in different states even though all of them are placed under same constitutional mandate

The institution of governor has been some what controversial in some states which created even to rupture centre –state relations

Almost all state govt has problem in administration

The nature of society and pattern of politics account for this variation

The Governor

Constitutional head of state

Appointed for five years,hold office during the pleasure of President

A senior politician is chosen as governor

He appoints CM and council of ministers

He has formal executive,legislative and judicial powers

He has discretionary powers

His discretionary power is in the choice of CM,dismissal of ministry,and dissolution of legislative assembly

C Achutha Menon was invited to form govt even though contracting parties have contested election prior to agreement 1970

Council of Ministry

C M is the leader of Council of Ministers

C of M is collectively responsible to assembly and ministers individually responsible to Governor

CM occupies a key position in the politics of the state


HC is the apex body in judicial pyramid

HC derives its powers from constitution

President appoints all judges in consultation with CJI under A/222

Below HC there is civil and criminal court

District court and district judge are placed immediately under HC

Below district court is subordinate judges court presided over by sub-judges

Munsif court is the lowest rung of judicial ladder


The fabric of union state relations affect the organization of state govt.

Policies of centre govt is to create vibrations in state politics of kerala

The Party Sytsem in Kerala

Party system places preeminent place in state and politics of Kerala

Parties attract more attention

Political parties reach evry where of kerala society

Kerala is very much a political society

Political parties find it hard to attribute an ideological basis to the voter behavior

Character of parties in kerala has been largely decided by the socio-economic structure exist in kerala

There is no one part dominance in kerala

Ideology took deeper root in Malabar area

No political part has uniform support basis in kerala

Twin front party politics dominates kerala politics

Fragmentation and party factionalism

(a)The congress underwent metamorphic changes since independence in kerala

In Travancore and cochin congress undergone communal pressure

Dominance of Christian communities in congress resulted in mass exodus of hundus and forming of hindu mandalam

(b)The praja socialist party grew in strength under pattom a thau pillai

Communalism,groupism and personal rivalry flourished in congress during cpi rule of 1957-59,and even after liberation struggle,which give birth to kerala congress

The all india split in congres brought a split in congress in kerala too,so two kerala Pradesh congress committee came into being

1.congress ruling

2.congress organization

Factionalism in political party

The congress ruling built up cadre with cpi in 1970s and o congress meged into janata party when it was formed in 1977when indira Gandhi formed congress I ,it also become a force in kerala too,split 1969

Factionalism prevailed in congress

The congress paralysed by factionalism

Congress O,R,I etc

(c)Cpi was a well disciplined cadre party in 1950s split in 1964,

(d)The muslim league also decided the destiny of kerala politics along with congress,cpi,cpi (m).

ML was represented in ministry during 1967-87

(e)Kerala congress was formed in 1964 under christiam and nair votes

The party drew its support from p t chacko,but factionalism reduced not strength of party,factionalism created two kerala congress,

Factionalism also prevailed in communist,but did not surface frequent,but it had to appease regional and communal pressures,it ahd a split in 1964,the main factors dividing party has been community,caste,and personal loyalty

Factionalism also infected league,league leaders remained in two camps

Electoral Politics

Electoral process is instrumental in transmitting power periodically

Vital problem in politics is source of power and understanding the manner in which it is exercised

Elections is inevitable part of such political life

Political parties participate in electoral process

Regional,class,communal,religious sentiments give strength to parties

Electoral process in kerala has deep root even prior to the formation of state

State congress in Travancore and praja mandal in cochin swept polls in early elections

After unification of Travancore and cochin congress began to fare badly in elections due to infightings,departure from congress principles,factionalism,communal intrigues etc

An electoral scene different from prior has beebn created in post 1957 period

The 1967 election made real coalition in kerala

An anti congress front of seven parties called sapta munnai formed by CPi(M)

Coalition Experiments in Kerala

Two political coalition have emerged in kerala called twin front political coalition

But coalition in kerala is negative in sense that they form coalition because to avoid some parties from sharing power

Categorization of coalition in kerala as left or right is meaningless as political parties joing one bloc is shortlived

Irony is that same political parties in kerala and nationally follow two different ideologies

In kerala,there is no entrenched traditional land owning class which can defend itself against such other interest groups,neither nationalism nor religious loyalty is strong enough to wipe out group rivalry.there is no charismatic personality also who can appeal to all people in all the regions and communities.therfore coalition became the cath all word for party politics in kerala.

The imperfect coalition of 1960 has been shaped by liberation struggle,which had neither a common programme nor pre-election alliance

the mini front formed in 1969 was meant to avoid extremism in kerala,

most coalition in kerala has been dictated by practical politics

defection and factionalism haunted kerala coalitionsfaction caused break up of 1960 coalition

coalition caused decline of of the role of C M in kerala politics

it also caused decline of collective responsibility

it increased power of bureaucrats and corruption

Associationalism in Kerala

By Indian standards ,kerala has a vibrant trade union movements,in 1961-2 india has trade union membership of 2 percent of its workforce whereas kerala had 5 percent same period

Unions in kerala are comparatively militant,

Associationalism in kerala are varied and numerous


Working class sruggle in kerala has been one of outstanding

Workers are well organized

More inclined to threaten to strike work on least provocation

High militancy

Active centres of conflict are cashew,coir,plantaions,textiles,knitting,bricks and tiles industries

Most leadership are non workers

Trade union movement

Trade unionism in kerala has obscure beginnings

Travancore labour association formed in coir industry in 1920

,it was renamed as Travancore coir factory workers union 1937

The cashew factory workers union dominated trade union scene in quilon

In cochin the toddy tappers union of anthikkad 1936 was earliest trade union movement in cochin area


Local labour cells of congress

Adopted gandhian trade union techniques but it has outlived congress split

Later compromised gandhian techniques to compete with CITU


Noted fro militancyunder cpm

It has become the police force of cpm in kerala


Hindu mazdoor sangh and socialist centre have no importance in state

Peasant movement

Organized peasant struggle in kerala began with formation of Malabar kudiyan sangham 1920,

By the moplah rebellion 1926, peasant struggle become active

Kerala karshaka sangham was formed in 1933 to safeguard interests of peasants

Malabar karshaka sangham was formed in 1937

Mobilization of peasants led to clashes with police and led to banning karshaka sangham

Since ban on karshaka sangham,all Kerala kisan sangham formed in 1942

Peasant activities began to be violent in Malabar area in 1946

Intermittent agrarian uprisings beagn to erupt in cochin and Travancore

The agrarian uprisings in Travancore was due to two factors-formation of caste association among cultivators and rise of industrial proletariat ,and agrarian uprisings was mainly because of rising class consciousness among lower caste

After independence CPI mobilized peasantry to overthrow if possible the new government

The agrarian movements had political overtones in post independence which led to conflict beween CPi led and congress led agrarian groups in kerala

The most important agrarian organizations was

-kerala state karshaka thozhilali union -CPI

-upper kuttanad karshaka sangham -Congress

-after split, CPI formed kerala state karshaka thozhilali federation

Communist movement

It came late to kerala

Communist pary of india dates back to 1920s

But Marxism attractedlttle in kerala up to 1930s

The first proto Marxist organization was tiny Trivandrum based Communist League 1931

In 1939 a state unit of party was secretly established

The socio economic situation prevailed in kerala necessitated growth of communism

By 1939 communist cells existed in Calicut,ernakulam,Trivandrum and party was in many part of Malabar coextensive with local congress organization

Part led peasant struggles

In south india party operated via congress socialist party

Immediately after wardha session of AICC,90 malayali CSp members met secretely at a village in tellichery in 13 october 1939 to form CSP in to CPi

On 26 januari 1940 part formally announced

Punnapra vayalar

Lecture notes prepared by Biju P R,Assistant Professor in Political Science,Govt Brennen College ,Thalassery

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