Thiruvananthapuram, March 19 If political brownie points scored in tackling coronavirus scare in Kerala are an indication, the Left Democratic Front government led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is definitely a winner. The public stock of the opposition United Democratic Front led by the Congress is down, at least for the present.
Kerala recorded India's first coronavirus positive case on January 30, shifting the focus on the coastal state. And the state government did not lose any opportunity to direct its full energy to the containment of the dreaded new virus as it did when Nipah struck Kozhikode in 2018.
After Kerala contained Nipah by ensuring high standards of public health measures, it added to the political stature of Health Minister K.K. Shailaja, whose performance till then was under scrutiny.
With her political stock on the high in the state Cabinet, Shailaja promptly shifted into top gear when the first coronavirus case was reported, traversing the coastal state for meeting officials and taking stock of the emerging situation.
She reached practically every district headquarters to meet health officials and instilling in them a feeling that their hard work will be rewarded.
On the other hand, the Congress leaders watched from the sidelines to see if they could point out to any official lapses so as to score political brownie points.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala faced criticism on the social media when he tried to unsettle Shailaja by flaying her for holding frequent press briefings which he termed as media mania.
In the Assembly, the two could be seen engaging in political sparring.
Sensing that Kerala people by and large were offering bouquets to Shailaja and the Vijayan government for its handling of the coronavirus situation, Chennithala slowly stopped indulging in political nitpicking.
Chief Minsiter Vijayan, sensing that his government is now on a strong wicket, has since taken over from his Minister and begun to address the media here every evening.
The Congress, however, seems not yet willing to give him his due credit, venting its biggest grouse that while all educational and religious institutions are closed in Kerala, Vijayan is still unwilling to close down bars and liquor and beer retail outlets despite demands from various quarters.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance appears more or less invisible in Kerala at the moment since it is in disarray even after a new state president of the party was appointed last month.
As things stand now, there are a total of 24 positive cases in Kerala, with over 25,000 persons under observation at homes and hospitals. Certainly, good tidings seem to be looming on the horizon for the LDF as local bodies elections in the southern coastal state are expected to be held in October and Assembly elections in May 2021.
( With inputs from IANS )