THE CASTE OF A CHIEF MINISTER

There is an unwritten rule in Kerala that “we won’t ask your caste in public , but would somehow unearth it and act accordingly”. So we would love eulogising Kalabhavan Mani knowing very well that we are talking about someone who would never be your equal , how hard he try in this life or the next. This subtle discrimination is everywhere to the extent that the chief minister was recently called Toddy tapper’s (ezhava) son and the person who did it went on justifying his remarks.Kerala politics is quiet unique. Though all political parties including “Muslim” League profess secularism , it is all about caste and religion.

CPI(M) is basically a Hindu party , In Northern Kerala Nairs dominate the party at the leadership level while the middle cadre are made up of the Thiyyas/Thandans/ezhavas , the lower level workers are mostly the scheduled caste. Muslims , who are the new recruits are mostly wahabists who are kept mostly as vote getters in regions with minority majority.In the erstwhile travancore NSS has more say in politics compared to Malabar , Land reforms alienated them from the left , Hence ezhavas became the fountainhead of the party with a spattering of Nairs in between.when it comes to the leadership question it will mostly be a leader from the North, Hence preferably a Nair.

Congress has now been reduced to a party of minorities. Once it used to command a bulk of Nair and ezhava votes in Malabar, but now its the party of the Muslims in areas where they are not in majority. The moment the census hints of a changed demographics , Muslim league will become the dominant player. Down south congress is a party of higher castes – Nairs and Syrian Christians. Congress will always have a leader from south , so reserved for the above mentioned castes.

From this discussion it is quiet clear that a Nair or a Syrian Christian will most probably become the Chief Minister of the state whether the LDF or UDF wins. But that has not been the case recently first V S Achuthanandan and now Pinarayi Vijayan completing full terms.This has pushed the casteists to a corner and they have started to react.The churning is also happening among the minority vote bank. Christians who till now were considered at par with Hindus due to their tight grip over the educational system (which gave them extra weight) is feeling threatened with the rise of Muslim vote bank. The low fertility rate and increased migration has resulted in plummeting Christian population with many of their strongholds like Muvattupuzha and Perumbavoor being turned into Muslim dominant constituencies. In Kottayam district they call it Erattupetta phenomenon. Many Christian fundamentalists are having nightmares about a scenario where Mr.Kunjalikutty of Muslim League becoming the Chief Minister of the state. Though Syrian Christians had become full term CMs , a Muslim taking up that position would mean a situation where they would become equals to Muslims and not special anymore.

Next state elections would see community divisions reach the zenith , as BJP with nearly 15% votes is slowly eating into both Nair and Ezhava votes. This would make the other fronts turn more communal and finally Enlightened Kerala would have an equivalent to Rama Rajya movement.

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