What the verdict means for Pinarayi Vijayan
The outcome of assembly elections in four states — West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Kerala — and the Union territory of Puducherry will have an impact on the political fortunes of both national and state leaders in the months and years ahead.
Communist chief ministers are devoted to the party organisation. But only those communist chief ministers who also build up a distinctive leadership style and connect with citizens beyond the party machine have succeeded in India. While this was most obviously true of Jyoti Basu, it is now becoming more representative of Kerala’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan — who has succeeded in breaking what many regarded as an almost inviolable rule of state politics, where the Left and Congress replaced each other every five years.
The CM led the Left to a victory largely because his government was perceived to have handled both public health (Covid and Nipah) crises and natural disasters (floods) well; he also expanded the party’s social base. As the only one with a proven ability to win elections in his party, Vijayan is arguably now the Left’s most important leader in India.