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Political Background

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When Kerala was formed, the State was under President's rule. The new State went to the polls for the first time in March 1957. There were 126 Assembly and 16 Parliamentary seats. The Communist Party of India emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly with 60 seats. Shri E.M.S.Namboodiripad formed an 11 member ministry on April 5, 1957 with the support of some independents. Political agitation and unrest extending over several months, culminated in the taking over of the administration of the State and the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly, under Article 356 of the Constitution, by the president of India, on July 31, 1959. Mid-term elections followed in February next year.

A three party alliance comprising of the Congress, the Praja Socialist Party and the Muslim League, was returned to power. Shri Pattom A.Thanu Pillai (PSP) took over as the coalition Chief Minister, leading a council of eleven ministers, in February 1960. Shri R.Sankar (Congress) was designated as the Deputy Chief Minister. Shri. Pattom A.Thanu Pillai however, resigned on September 25, 1962, consequent on a gubernatorial appointment, Shri.R.Sankar was appointed Chief Minister the next day. Shri.Sankar continued as Chief Minister for about two years.

A political crisis precipitated in September 1964, when about 15 Congress legislators lent their support to a no-confidence motion against the ministry. The motion was carried. The legislature was dissolved on September 10 and the State thereupon passed under President's rule. Elections were held in March 1965. A fresh delimitation of constituencies had taken place in between. There were 133 Assembly and 19 Parliamentary constituencies. The election proved abortive in the sense that no single party could form a ministry commanding majority support. Once again on 25th March, 1965, Kerala was put under President's administration.

The State went to the polls two year later at the time of the general elections in March 1967. A new polarization of political forces had emerged in the meantime, leading to new electoral alliances. Politically the most potent combination was the new united front of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Muslim League, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Karshaka Thozhilali Party and the Kerala Socialist Party. This seven-party combine was voted to power leading to the formation of a ministry headed by Shri.E.M.S.Namboodiripad (CPI-M). The Cabinet consisted of four members of the Marxist Party, two each of the CPI, the Muslim League and the SSP and one each of the RSP, the KTP and the KSP. Shri.Namboodiripad's second ministry had a chequered tenure until one of the ministers of the original SSP constituent, who had inter alia left the party to join the newly formed Indian Socialist Party group, had to resign from the Cabinet to face a judicial enquiry. The ministers belonging to the C.P.I., the Muslim League, the RSP and the KSP tendered their resignation in October 1969. Shri Namboodiripad himself resigned on 24th October, 1969. As distinct from previous crises, the legislature was intact. A fresh alignment of forces with the Assembly initiated the formation of an eight-member cabinet headed by Shri.C.Achutha Menon (CPI) in November 1969. The ruling alliance consisted of the CPI, the KSP, the Muslim League, the R.S.P. and the Kerala Congress. The Assembly was dissolved on 26th June, 1970 on the advice of the Chief Minister who tendered the resignation of his council of ministers on 1st August 1970.

Elections were held in September, 1970. The partners of the ruling front now included the Indian National Congress, the CPI, the RSP, the Muslim League and the Praja Socialist Party and were returned with a considerable majority. Shri.C.Achutha Menon formed his second ministry on 4th October, 1970. The Indian National Congress supported the front Government without joining it. The cabinet was expanded on two occasions, once when the Indian National Congress joined it in September 1971 and for the second time in December, 1975 to accommodate Kerala Congress nominees. The fourth Legislative Assembly was unique in many respects. It emerged as the first Assembly in the chequered post-independence history of the State which completed its normal constitutional term. Moreover, the normal term of the Assembly was extended on three occasions - for a period of six months from 22nd October, 1975, for a second period of six months from 22nd April, 1976 and for yet another six months from 22nd October, 1976.

Elections were then held in March 1977, the sixth to be held since the formation of the State. The ruling front, essentially a continuation of the previous alignment of forces, won a decisive majority. Cabinet leadership now passed on to Shri.K.Karunakaran of the Congress who formed a ministry on March 25, 1977. But this ministry was short-lived. Shri.Karunakaran tendered the resignation of his cabinet on April 25, 1977 following certain reference by the Kerala High Court in what had been known as the Rajan case. Shri.A.K.Antony (Congress) became the next Chief Minister. However, in the wake of differences of opinion of the Congress Working Committee on the attitude of the Congress vis-a-vis parliamentary by-election at Chikkamagalur in Karnataka, Shri Antony resigned his Chief Ministership on October 27, 1978. Shri.P.K.Vasudevan Nair (CPI) took over as Chief Minister on October 29, 1978. But his ministry also resigned on October 7, 1979 in order to create a favourable atmosphere for the formation of a Left Democratic Front in Kerala. Shri.C.H.Muhammad Koya was sworn-in as Chief Minister on October 12, 1979, but the four member ministry could continue in office only for a short term. The ministry resigned on December 1, 1979 and the Assembly was dissolved. Again President's rule was invoked in Kerala up to 24th January 1980. Political alignment in Kerala had then undergone a sea change involving a drastic regrouping of major political parties.

The stage was set for the eventual emergence of two political combines - the Left Democratic Front and the United Democratic Front. In the 1980 Assembly polls, out of the 140 elective seats in the Assembly, 13 were reserved for scheduled castes and one for scheduled tribes. The LDF bagged 93 seats. Shri.E.K.Nayanar, leader of the L.D.F. headed a 17 member ministry which assumed office on 25th January, 1980. Despite the thumping majority for the LDF, there arose ideological differences among the ruling partners and it culminated in the withdrawal of support to the ministry by the Congress (S). The curtain fell down on 20th October 1981 when the eight-member Kerala Congress (M) also withdrew support to the Government. Shri.E.K.Nayanar tendered resignation of the ministry and President's rule was introduced on 21st October 1981. Again political realignment took place. The Kerala Congress (M) and the Congress(S) joined the U.D.F. An eight-member U.D.F. ministry was sworn in on 28th December 1981 with Shri K.Karunakaran (Congress-I) as the leader. It was the twelfth ministry in Kerala since the formation of the State. The Congress (S) broke into two factions. The major group supported the Government. Another split took place in the Janatha Party also and a section lent support to the ministry. A member of the Kerala Congress (M) later withdrew his backing to the Government and it resulted in the resignation of the ministry and dissolution of the Assembly on March 17, 1982. The State fell under President's rule for the seventh time. Mid-term elections to the seventh Kerala Assembly were held on May 19, 1982. The nominees of the UDF and the LDF were the main political contestants. The U.D.F. won 77 seats. The 19 member U.D.F. Ministry with Shri.K.Karunakaran as its leader assumed office on 24th May 1982. During the regime of the U.D.F. Government the major events that took place, were the merger of the INC (I) and INC(A) in November 1982, the merger of the two rival factions of the Muslim League (IUML and AIML) in August 1985 and the splits in the N.D.P., the Janata (J) and the SRP. That ministry could complete the full term of office. The U.D.F. Ministry resigned office soon after the announcement of the election results on March 24, 1987. The ninth election to the eighth Kerala Assembly was held on March 23, 1987, about two months in advance of the due date. The electorate numbered 1,59,94,280 as in the case of the two previous elections, the U.D.F. And the L.D.F. were the contestants. The U.D.F. consisted of INC, IUML, KC(J), KC(M), SRP(S), NDP(P) and RSP(S). It fielded two independent candidates. The KC(J) and the IUML had given one each of their seats-Thaliparamba and Azhikode - to the Communist Marxist Party with which they had electoral adjustments and understanding. The LDF comprised of CPI(M), CPI, RSP, IC(S), Janatha and Lokdal. A third political front had also emerged with the B.J.P. And the Hindu Munnani, as constituents which put up 127 candidates. The presence of 84 candidates fielded by the newly born Communist Marxist Party led by Shri.M.V.Raghavan who was expelled from the CPM, added a new dimension to the poll. In the elections, the LDF came out victorious by securing 78 seats, pushing the UDF to the opposition with 60 seats. An independent and one CMP candidate also won the elections. A five-member ministry under the Chief Ministership of Shri.E.K.Nayanar assumed charge of office on March 26, 1987. The ministry was expanded on April 3, 1987 by including 14 more members in the Cabinet. Later the Janatha Dal recommended to the Cabinet, the name of Prof. N. M. Joseph in the place of Shri. M. P. Veerendra Kumar. Shri.Varkala Radhakrishnan was elected Speaker and Smt.Bhargavi Thankappan as Deputy Speaker, in the first sitting of the Assembly.

In a move to decentralize power, the L.D.F. Ministry brought in the District council. In the elections to this council held in December 1990, the front came out victorious. Subsequently, early general elections to the assembly were declared and were scheduled for 23rd May 1991, though the tenure of the ministry extended up to March 1992. Consequent to the assassination of Shri.Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister, on 21st May, barely two days before the dates fixed for the polls, the elections were postponed to 12th June, 1991. Elections were held as per the revised schedule in 139 constituencies as polls in the Eattumanoor constituency was countermanded, because of the death of one of the candidates there. The total electorate numbered 1,95,12,248 and the votes polled were 1,43,33,377 (73%).In the elections, the U.D.F. emerged victors with 89 seats, their constituents being INC, ML, KC(M), KC (B), CMP, NDP and independents. The 9th Kerala Assembly was sworn in to power on 24th June 1991, with Shri. K. Karunakaran as the Chief Minister. The ministry comprised of 19 ministers, drawn from INC, ML, NDP, KC(M), KC(B), KC(J) and CMP. Shri. P. P. Thankachan was elected speaker. This ministry completed its full term of five years with a change of Chief Minister and Speaker in between. On 22nd March, 1995, Shri. K. Karunakarana took up a berth in the union cabinet, making way for Shri.A.K.Antony to take up the Chief Ministership. When Shri. P. P. Thankachan became the Agriculture Minister, Shri. Therambil Ramakrishnan was elected as Speaker in his place. As in previous years the L.D.F. Were the main contestants in the elections to the 10th Kerala Assembly. The L.D.F. Consisted of CPI(M), CPI, Janatha Dal, Congress (S), Kerala Congress (J), R.S.P. And the U.D.F. Consisted of INC, ML, KC (Jacob), KC (M), KC(B) and CMP. Tilting the balance, the L.D.F. Emerged winners and the 10th Kerala Assembly was sworn in to power on the 20th of May 1996 with Shri. E. K. Nayanar as Chief Minister. The cabinet comprised of 14 ministers drawn from CPI (M), CPI, JD, INC(S), K.C.(J) and RSP. Shri. M. Vijaya Kumar was elected as Speaker. Election to the 11th assembly was held on May 10 ,2001 in which UDF got 99 seats and the 11th Kerala Assembly was sworn in to power on the 17th of May 2001 with Shri. A. K. Antony as Chief Minister. The cabinet comprised of 20 ministers. Shri. Vakkom Purushothaman was elected as speaker. Shri. Sundaram Nadar sworn in as Deputy Speaker.

Shri. A. K. Antony rendered the resignation of his cabinet on august 29, 2004. A five member ministry under the chief ministership of Oommen Chandy assumed charge of office on August 31,2004. Shri.Therambil Ramakrishnan was elected as the Speaker.The ministry was further expanded to a 20 members cabinet. INC faced a split in 2005,a new party ,DIC[K] was formed under the leadership of veteran congress leader K. Karunakaran on may Ist 2005.

Election to the 13 assembly was conducted in three phases on April 22nd, 29th and May 3rd.The LDF won with   98 seats,.The 19 member LDF ministry was sworn into power on 18nth May 2006 with Shri.V.S.Achuthanandan as the Chief Minister.Shri. K. Radhakrishnan was elected as the speaker and deputy speaker is Shri. Jose Baby.

The 21st ministry headed by Shri. Oommen Chandy as Chief Minister was sworn in by His Excellency R.S.Gavai, Governor of Kerala at a function organised for the purpose at Kerala Raj Bhavan Thiruvananthapuram at 4pm on 23rd May 2011. The UDF lead ministry includes Shri. P. K. Abdu Rabb, Shri. Adoor Prakash, Shri. A. P. Anilkumar, Shri. Aryadan Mohammed, Shri. K. Babu, Shri. C. N. Balakrishnan, Shri. V. K. Ebrahim Kunju, Shri. K. B. Ganesh Kumar, Shri. T. M. Jacob, Kumari P. K. Jayalekshmi, Shri. K. C. Joseph, Shri. P. J. Joseph, Shri. P. K. Kunhalikutty, Shri. K. M. Mani, Shri. K. P. Mohanan, Dr. M. K. Muneer, Shri. Shibu Baby John, Shri. V .S. Sivakumar and Shri. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

The seat of Shri. T. M. Jacob, in the legislative Assembly of the Kerala State, elected from 85- Piravom Assembly Constituency has become vacant on 30-10-2011 by reason of his death and a bye- election is held on 17 March 2012 for the purpose of filling the vacancy so caused.

Shri. Manjalamkuzhi Ali of Muslim League representing the constituency of Perinthalmanna and Shri. Anoop Jacob of the Kerala Congress (Jacob) representing Piravom were sworn in as ministers in 21th ministry on 12.04.2012.

Shri. K. B. Ganesh Kumar, of Kerala Congress (B), a single-MLA constituent of the ruling UDF, resigned from the Council of Ministers on April 1, 2013 on personal issues.

Shri. Ramesh Chennithala representing Haripad Constituency sworn in as Home Minister to the ministry on 1 January 2014 at Kerala Raj Bhavan.


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