My state of Kerala in India has yet another Left front government. In 1957 , in the first election after the formation of the state, Kerala had created history by democratically electing a Communist party government. Since then the Communist led Left front has been voted to power 7 times, ruling more or less alternatingly, with Congress led United front.
The Left front consist mainly of two communist parties, the smaller Communist Party of India and the bigger Communist Party of India ( Marxist). Indian Communists, in theory, still aim for Communism through establishing a dictatorship state of proletariat. Before reaching that stage they believe that there need to be a people’s democratic revolution and for that their participation in parliamentary democratic politics is essential.
I do not think any one who voted for the Communists want a dictatorship of proletariat. They were voting for a democratic government which they believe will be less corrupt and is less influenced by caste and religion. They have voted Left for equitable and environment friendly growth of the economy. They have voted Left for strengthening of public health and education systems of the state so that not so well off can get quality education and health care. They voted Left so that there will be a more gender sensitive government.
Previous Left front governments had a mixed track record. They performed well in social sectors but not that good in providing a good atmosphere for flourishing of businesses because of their rigid Marxist ideological positions. Many a time the Left governments were held hostage by their trade unions. Government became a big employer but slow and inefficient. Foreign capital was not very welcome and government continued to invest public money on loss making ventures so that the workers will not lose their jobs.
I hope the new government under Pinarayi Vijayan will not repeat mistakes of previous Left governments. It should aim for the welfare of all citizens and not just that of organised labour. All kind of private investments should be welcomed so that burden of employment generation will not be on the state. The retirement age should be advanced to 60 or more from 56 so that the pension burden will be less and experienced employees can give few more years of valuable service to the government.
Kerala is called god’s own country in tourism ads. Ironically, in today’s ceremony, 15 of the 19 ministers did not mention the mythical god while they took the oath of office.
Yes, atheists are in power in my state, but they need to be more evidence based and less ideological in their view points to succeed.