The people of India's southern coastal state, Kerala, voted in state government elections on Thursday (September 17).
The people of India's southern coastal state, Kerala, voted in state government elections on Thursday (September 17). Voters had a choice of 21 parties and splinter groups, although the two congress and two communist parties are the main contenders for power.
Kerala is India's smallest state with a population of 21 million people. It has been one of India's main political problem areas for the past 14 years. Since 1956, Kerala has seen four elections and five periods of direct central government rule.
Single party rule has proved impossible because of political fragmentation. Ministries have faller because of splits between coalition partners.
The election was called last June by Chief Minister Mr. Chela Achutha Menon of the pro-Moscow Communist Party of India (CPI). He felt that non-party support for his eight-month-old coalition was crumbling, and he decided to seek a fresh mandate at the polls.
The main contenders in the fifth election are the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the pro-Peking Marxist Communist party (C.P.M.). The C.P.I. is aligned with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's ruling Congress Party and the Moslem League. The C.P.M. is grouped with the Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP) and two small local groups. It is believed that none of the alliances can win an absolute majority.
If no alliance can be formed and no government emerges from the election, Kerala may undergo another period ??? direct central rule.
Three people were killed in pre-election clashes between supporters of rival parties, but the campaign has generally been peaceful.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spent three days speaking at various towns in Kerala. She urged voters to support her Congress party and its allies, including the Communist Party of India.
Elections will vote for 133 members of a state assembly. Results of the poll are expected on Saturday and observers will be watching the alliances formed as a result of the elections for possible pointers they give to the future shape of Indian politics before the 1972 general election.
SYNOPSIS: On Thursday, people int he Indian southern coastal state of Kerala voted in the fifth state government elections since 1956. Voters had a choice of 21 parties to fill the 133 assembly seats. Kerala is India's smallest state with a population of 21 million people.
The Muslim League, the pro-Moscow Communist Party of India (or C.P.I.) and the ruling Congress party are aligned in the elections. The Harijan candidate, Mr. Raman, is supported by the three-party alliance.
The pro-Peking marxist Communist Party or CPM and its affiliated groups make up the strongest opposition to the three-party alliance. Mr. Ranadive is one of the C.P.M. candidates.
Mr. Chathunni Master is another Marxist candidate, Throughout the campaign, he has been holding roadside meetings of Marxist supporters.
The Jansangh party put up eight candidates, among them Doctor Ramchandaran. The Jansangh party represents the ruling Congress party of Mrs. Indira Gandhi. It is not expected that any of the alliances will win an absolute majority in the elections.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spent three days this week speaking at various towns in Kerala. She urged voters to support her Congress party and its allies, including the Communist Party of India. Should no group have gained an absolute majority after the results of the poll are known on Saturday, Kerala may undergo its sixth period of direct central government rule. Observers are watching the elections for a possible indication of the shape of India's political future before the 1972 general elections.