In the past three and a half decades of alliance politics in Kerala, where elections were split evenly between United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front, 82 political parties have tried their luck at winning the people’s mandate. Of this 82, only 32 parties were able to win a seat in the 140 member state assembly in the past seven elections since 1982.
Interestingly the party that has contested most number of seats in Kerala in last seven elections has not won even a single seat. That distinction goes to Bharatiya Janata Party which has contested a whopping 850 seats in past 35 years and lost every single one of them.
Indian Union Muslim League with it’s stranglehold on Malappuram district is the winningest party in electoral politics. Both Communist Parties have a winning percentage higher than 50%. Congress and CPM are neck and neck, but Congress is trending lower in winnability since the UDF sweep in 2001. Muslim league has a 68% winning ratio overall across seven elections, but more remarkable is the fact that IUML won 83% of the seats it contested in 2011, up from 33% win ratio in 2006 when CPM shook some of League’s forts and turned League badlands red. Kerala Congress Mani has won 50 of the 88 seats they contested.
BJP has the worst return on investment by far, and their performance could arguably be the worst performance by any party anywhere in the country. 2016 is BJP’s biggest bet so far. BSP tried their hand in Kerala during Mayawati’s expansive days, but came up a cropper.
Bonus: A quick glance at Kerala’s big parties and the number of seats they contest makes it clear the state is moving towards a four player system – CPM, INC, CPI and IUML. As it is becoming more evident, any party other than these four do not have the scale to win across the state and in the next few elections will be asking more existential questions. Below is a table of contested seats for top five parties in Kerala.