United Democratic Front
AbbreviationUDF
LeaderV. D. Satheesan
ChairpersonV. D. Satheesan
FounderK. Karunakaran
Founded1979; 43 years ago (1979)
HeadquartersIndira Bhavan, Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
IdeologyBig tent
Factions
Political positionCentre[2] to centre-left[3]
Seats in Lok Sabha
18 / 20
Seats in Rajya Sabha
3 / 9
Seats in Kerala Legislative Assembly
41 / 140
Election symbol

The United Democratic Front (UDF) is an alliance of Centre[2] to centre-left[3] political parties in the Indian state of Kerala. It is one of the two major political alliances in Kerala, the other being CPI(M)-led LDF, each of which has been in power alternately for the last four decades.[4] UDF has won elections to the State Legislature of Kerala in the years 1982,[5] 1991,[6] 2001,[7] and 2011.[8] its predecessor United Front (1970–79) had won two consecutive terms for first time in the political history of Kerala, by gaining the elections of 1970[9] and 1977.[10] The alliance currently acts as the opposition in the state legislature of Kerala post-May 2016 election.

The alliance consists of Indian National Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Forward Bloc, and a variety of other smaller parties. The front follows Big tent policy with the common principles of Social democracy, and Sustainable development.[1] It is a part of United Progressive Alliance at national level. The front was created by the Indian National Congress (then known as Congress-Indira) party leader K. Karunakaran in 1978, as a successor to the erstwhile United Front.[11] V. D. Satheesan is the UDF convener since May 2021.[12]

History

The second-longest serving Chief minister of Kerala, K. Karunakaran, was the founder of UDF
The second-longest serving Chief minister of Kerala, K. Karunakaran, was the founder of UDF

The coalition politics of Kerala began with second election held to the state legislative assembly in 1960.[13] A coalition lead by Indian National Congress came into power in 1960. The formation of CPI(M) in 1964 caused some changes in the Politics of Kerala. In 1970's, the major political parties in the state were unified under two major coalitions, one of them led by Indian National Congress, and the other by CPI(M).[13] The front led by Indian National Congress was initially called United Front, which had ruled the state from 1970 to 1979.[14] The Second Achutha Menon ministry, which sworn in 1970, became the first ministry in the state to complete its term. It was also the longest assembly in the state (7 years). In 1977, the United Front created history by winning two consecutive terms for first time in the state, by bagging a historical record of 111 seats to the 140-member assembly. The United Democratic Front (UDF) was formed as successor to the United Front just before 1980 state election.[15] UDF first came into power in Kerala in 1982 under K. Karunakaran.[5] It led the Government of Kerala in 1982–87 (K. Karunakaran), 1991–96 (K. Karunakaran and A. K. Antony), 2001–06 (A. K. Antony and Oommen Chandy), and 2011–16 (Oommen Chandy). The alliance currently serves as the opposition in the Kerala Assembly.

In the 2016 elections conducted to the state legislature, UDF managed to win 47 out of 140 seats to the assembly,[16] and Ramesh Chennithala was elected as the leader of opposition.[17] In 2019 Indian general election, UDF won 19 out of 20 seats in the state. In the last elections conducted to the state legislature in 2021, UDF managed to win 40 out of 140 seats to the assembly, and V. D. Satheesan became the leader of opposition.[18][19] UDF supported K. K. Rema for Vadakara constituency who sits as a separate block.[20]

List of UDF Conveners

Period UDF Convener Political affiliation
1980–82 P. J. Joseph KC(J)
1982–85 Oommen Chandy[21] INC
1985–2001 K. Sankaranarayanan[22] INC
2001–04 Oommen Chandy[21] INC
2004–18 P. P. Thankachan[23][24] INC
2018–20 Benny Behanan[24][25] INC
Incumbent M. M. Hassan[12] INC

Governance

Chief Ministers

Deputy Chief Ministers

UDF Ministries

List of UDF Chief Ministers by length of term

No. Name (Ministry) Length of term[26]
Longest continuous term Total years of premiership
1 K. Karunakaran

1st Karunakaran ministry

2nd Karunakaran ministry

3rd Karunakaran ministry

4th Karunakaran ministry

4 years, 305 days 8 years, 315 days
2 A. K. Antony

1st Antony ministry

2nd Antony ministry

3rd Antony ministry

3 years, 74 days 5 years, 306 days
3 Oommen Chandy

1st Chandy ministry

2nd Chandy ministry

5 years, 6 days 6 years, 256 days

Achievements

K. Karunakaran

Cochin International Airport is the first airport in the world to be fully powered by solar energy
Cochin International Airport is the first airport in the world to be fully powered by solar energy

He was instrumental in several massive infrastructure projects in Kerala which includes the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi,[27] and the Cochin International Airport, both of which were sanctioned during his last stint as Chief Minister.[28] Located at Nedumbassery, about 25 kilometres (16 mi) northeast of the city of Kochi, Cochin International Airport is first of its kind which is developed under a public-private partnership (PPP) model in India. This project was funded by nearly 10,000 non-resident Indians from 30 countries.[29] It is the busiest and the largest airport in the state of Kerala.[30] Vallarpadam terminal, which later became the first transshipment terminal in India was other key project coined during the regime of Karunakaran, but its construction was commenced by Oommen Chandy government in 2005.[31] Other major projects introduced during the reign of Karunakaran include the Kerala State Film Development Corporation, Goshree bridges of Kochi, Guruvayur Railway Line, Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant at Kayamkulam, etc.[32] The MG University, Kottayam, was created by bifurcating University of Kerala in the year 1983. A special government department for the welfare of Scheduled Castes was formed for first time in the state when K. Karunakaran became the chief minister. It was during the reign of first UDF government (Third Karunakaran ministry), that the last two districts of Kerala, namely Pathanamthitta and Kasaragod, were carved out, making the total number of districts at 14.[32] The first phase of Kollam Bypass was completed in 1993.[citation needed]

A. K. Antony

The decision to construct the present Niyamasabha Mandiram was taken by the First Antony ministry in 1977
The decision to construct the present Niyamasabha Mandiram was taken by the First Antony ministry in 1977

It was at Antony's behest that the decision to construct the new Legislature Complex was taken in 1977. During his tenure, he introduced the Unemployment Allowance, Festival Allowance for the State Employees, Prohibition of Arrack in the state, and the steps initiated to revive the economy of Kerala.[33] Several initiatives were taken in the fields of Higher education, science & technology, Biotechnology (including the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology at Thiruvananthapuram), and Information technology, under his ministries.[34] It was also under his reign that the Kannur University was created by bifurcating the University of Calicut. The University of Sanskrit was founded in 1994.[35] The Indian Institute of Management and the National Institute of Technology at Kozhikode were established in the years 1996 and 2002 respectively.[36] Antony carried out Asian Development Bank aided "Modernization of Government Plan". He also liberalised education by allowing several private engineering and medical colleges to open in Kerala and championed the state as an investment destination.[citation needed] The IT@school project and introduction of Information Technology in school level were initiated in 2001 by Third Antony ministry, making Kerala the first Indian state to do so.[37] The Akshaya project was implemented in 2002 to provide E-literacy to the people those who haven't it and opening Akshaya centres in the remote rural areas of the state, thus ensuring Internet availability all over the state, aiming to make Kerala the first complete E-literate state of India.[38] The Infopark at Kochi was established in the year 2004.[39] He also ordered the closure of the Kerala Coca-Cola plant in 2004 citing drought and the non-availability of drinking water.[40] Antony was ranked among top 10 Most Powerful Indians for the year 2012 by the Indian Express.[41] The 10th Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee admired Antony[42] for his simplicity, gentleness and his zeal for reforms and change as a way to ensure acceleration of Kerala's all-round development.[42]

Oommen Chandy

Oommen Chandy with prime minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A. K. Antony at Emerging Kerala summit, 2012
Oommen Chandy with prime minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A. K. Antony at Emerging Kerala summit, 2012

Chandy first took charge as Chief Minister leading First Chandy ministry on 31 August 2004 and adopted the motto Athivegam Bahudooram (Fast and far). He is the only Indian Chief Minister to achieve award for public service from United Nations.[43] Sanctioning of Unemployment allowance, and welfare measures for the labourers, were some of the measures of his government.[21] Chandy attended the 35th World Economic Forum held at Davos, Switzerland, in the year 2006.[21] The Karunya benevolent scheme was implemented in the year 2011–12 for the free treatment of patients with Cancer, Haemophilia, Kidney, and Heart diseases.[44] More Cochlear implant surgeries were done.[45] More Organ implantation surgeries were done through Mruthasanjeevani project.[46] Chandy also received the United Nation's Public Service Award for his Mass Contact Programme (Jana Samparkka Paripadi), for hearing and solving the complaints of citizens.[47]

The inauguration of Complete E-literacy project at Thiruvananthapuram (2014)
The inauguration of Complete E-literacy project at Thiruvananthapuram (2014)

In 2005, Information Technology was made a compulsory subject for the school-level students, thus making Kerala the first Indian state to do so.[37] Victers TV, which is India's first public edutainment channel broadband network on EDUSAT for schools, was inaugurated by A. P. J. Abdul Kalam on 28 July 2005 at Thiruvananthapuram.[48] The Hill highway project, a massive highway project that connects the eastern hilly areas of the districts of Kerala which was proposed in 1960, was approved by the First Chandy ministry in 2005. The Government of Kerala approved the project and funds were allocated for the same in 2005 and the same year on 17 January 2005, Oommen Chandy inaugurated the first phase of the project between Kasaragod and Palakkad at a function held in Payyavoor.[49]

Kochi metro was the fastest completed metro project in India on its inauguration
Kochi metro was the fastest completed metro project in India on its inauguration

The Second Chandy ministry (2011–16) adopted the motto Vikasanavum Karuthalum (Development and care).[43] Chandy's regime was instrumental in beginning the construction of several massive infrastructure projects as well as some human-welfare schemes in Kerala which includes the Kannur International Airport in Kannur,[50][51] the Kochi Metro at Kochi,[50][52][51] the Vizhinjam International Seaport at Thiruvananthapuram,[50][51] and Smart City project.[50] The projects for Thiruvananthapuram Light Metro and Kozhikode Light Metro were approved in 2012.[53] Suburban rail project was initiated in 2013.[54]

The Technopark at Thiruvananthapuram became the largest Information Technology park in India with the inauguration of Phase-3 in 2014.[55] The Taurus Downtown at Technopark was commenced during the period 2011–16.[55] The phase-2 of InfoPark, Kochi was inaugurated in May 2015.[56] Phase-2 of InfoPark Thrissur was completed during the same period.[57][58] The Park Centre of Cybercity at Kozhikode was formally opened by IT Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty on 15 February 2014.[59][60] UL Cyberpark at Kozhikode was inaugurated in January 2016.[61]

Technopark, Trivandrum became the largest Information Technology park in India with the inauguration of Phase-3 project in the year 2014
Technopark, Trivandrum became the largest Information Technology park in India with the inauguration of Phase-3 project in the year 2014

It was also during his reign that 12 new Taluks,[62] 28 new Municipalities,[63] and Kannur Municipal Corporation were formed,[63] for the effective decentralisation and proper utilisation of resources in the state,[63] in all regions of the state.[63][62] It was the largest Taluk delimitation in the state of Kerala after 1957.[64][62] A number of State Highways were constructed under Chandy government including all regions of the state, and the final decision to widen the National highways of the state to 45 m were taken in 2014.[65] During his period, 227 Road Bridges worth nearly Rs 16 billion were built across Kerala, which was the ever-highest in the state.[66][46] Kozhikode bypass was completed and the works of Kollam Bypass and Alappuzha Bypass roads were restarted during 2011–16.[46] The projects of Karamana-Kaliyikkavila bypass and Kazhakootam-Karode bypass for Thiruvananthapuram city were designated and started.[46] The Kochi-Mangalore GAIL pipeline was commissioned by the Second Chandy ministry in 2013.[67]

The ministry also took decision to built at least one Government Medical College in the districts which don't have it to ensure the presence of Public Medical College all the 14 districts of Kerala, which was instrumental in the Public health infrastructure of the state.[68] As a part of the project, New Government Medical Colleges were established in the state in 2013, after a gap of 31 years.[69] The National University of Advanced Legal Studies at Kochi was founded in 2005 and the Indian Institute of Technology at Palakkad was established in the year 2015. The universities founded in 2011–16 period include the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur (2012) and APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University at Thiruvananthapuram (2014).[70][71][72] The K. R. Narayanan National Institute of Visual Science and Arts at Kottayam was inaugurated in January 2016.[73] In 2015, the Cochin International Airport became the world's first fully solar powered airport with the inauguration of a dedicated solar plant.[74][75] For this entrepreneurial vision, the airport won the coveted Champion of the Earth award in 2018, the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations.[76] The airport was awarded The Best Airport in Asia-Pacific in 2020 (5 to 15 million passengers per annum) by Airports Council International.[77] The Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) was formed under KSRTC in 2015 to manage affairs related to urban transportation.[78] It was inaugurated on 12 April 2015 at Thevara.[79] Works on the last phase of Kollam Bypass was started on 27 May 2015. Chandy received the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award[80][81][82] from the Asia-Pacific region, for the category "Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service." The award was presented on 27 June 2013, in Manama, Bahrain, by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo. The award was based on the theme "Transformative e-Government and Innovation: Creating a Better Future for All."

Oommen Chandy in September 2015
Oommen Chandy in September 2015

Social welfare pensions were doubled during the era of Second Chandy ministry.[83] UDF government of 2011 increased it to Rs. 600 which was only Rs. 300 until 2011.[83] The Second Chandy government distributed pensions ranging from Rs 800 – Rs 1,500.[46] Social welfare pensions which had been distributed to 1290,000 people until 2011 were extended to 3443,000 during the period 2011–16.[83] Pensions for the disabled and widows were increased to Rs 800.[83] Old-age pensions were increased to Rs 1,500 for those above 75 years and Rs 1,100 to those above 80 years.[83] Other social welfare measures during Chandy reign include free ration for those who lost their employment, and 414,552 houses for those who had not had homes before.[43] Free rice was given to those who did not belong to Above Poverty Line (APL).[46] Food kits were distributed to the people during Onam, Ramdan, and Christmas.[46] Rubber Subsidy to ensure a minimum price of Rs 150/kg was implemented in 2015.[84] The Kerala Public Service Commission filled the vacant posts during 2011–16.[83] As many as 167,096 job candidates were appointed, setting a record.[83] As many as 46,223 posts were created in the same period.[83] The Second Chandy ministry had also took decision to prohibit Liqueur in the state by discouraging bars.[85] The number of political killings were relatively low (11) during the period 2011–16 in the state.[86] Kerala was declared as the first complete digital state of India on 27 February 2016.[87]

Twenty-six sectors were identified for showcasing in the Emerging Kerala summit of 2012 held at Kochi to attract investments. Those included:[88]

The first edition of Emerging Kerala summit, was held from 12 to 14 September 2012 at the Le Meridien International Convention Centre, Kochi. The event was organised by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), to highlight investment opportunities available in Kerala and advertise to the world its state of readiness to receive investors.[89] The Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh inaugurated the three-day event.[90] [91] The meet could bring in 45 specific project proposals with an investment of over Rs. 400 billion, including Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd's Kochi Refinery expansion and another joint venture project of Rs. 180 billion; Volkswagen’s engine assembly unit (Rs. 20 billion); hospital and pre-cast concrete structure manufacturing unit (Rs. 5.70 billion); and solar energy plant (Rs. 5 billion).[92] A number of Mega projects were conceptualized and developed in the State following the summit, the most prominent of which are as follows:[93]

Kerala Assembly Election results

Assembly election results[97]
Year Election Front leader Seats won Change in seats Outcome
1980 1980 Kerala Legislative Assembly election K. Karunakaran
46 / 140
New Opposition
1982 1982 Kerala Legislative Assembly election K. Karunakaran
77 / 140
Increase 31 Government
1987 1987 Kerala Legislative Assembly election K. Karunakaran
61 / 140
Decrease 16 Opposition
1991 1991 Kerala Legislative Assembly election K. Karunakaran
90 / 140
Increase 29 Government
1996 1996 Kerala Legislative Assembly election A. K. Antony
59 / 140
Decrease 31 Opposition
2001 2001 Kerala Legislative Assembly election A. K. Antony
99 / 140
Increase 40 Government
2006 2006 Kerala Legislative Assembly election Oommen Chandy
42 / 140
Decrease 57 Opposition
2011 2011 Kerala Legislative Assembly election Oommen Chandy
72 / 140
Increase 30 Government
2016 2016 Kerala Legislative Assembly election Oommen Chandy
47 / 140
Decrease 25 Opposition
2021 2021 Kerala Legislative Assembly election Ramesh Chennithala
41 / 140
Decrease 6 Opposition

Electoral history

Mandate Seats secured Ruling Coalition Majority
LDF UDF Others
1980 93 46 1 LDF 47
1982 63 77 0 UDF 14
1987 78 61 1 LDF 17
1991 48 90 2 UDF 40
1996 80 59 1 LDF 21
2001 40 99 1 UDF 59
2006 98 42 0 LDF 56
2011 68 72 0 UDF 04
2016 91 47 2 LDF 44
2021 99 41 0 LDF 59

Current allies

No. Party
1 Indian National Congress
2 Indian Union Muslim League
3 Kerala Congress
4 Kerala Congress (Jacob)
5 Democratic Congress Kerala
6 Revolutionary Socialist Party
7 Communist Marxist Party
8 All India Forward Bloc
9 Bharatiya National Janata Dal

List of Elected members

State Legislature

Map of Kerala showing 2021 State Legislative Assembly Election Results
Map of Kerala showing 2021 State Legislative Assembly Election Results

The United Democratic Front currently has 41 members in the Kerala Legislative Assembly, which consists of 140 elected seats in total. The alliance is the opposition in the Assembly.

Key

  INC     IUML     KEC     KC(J)     UDF  RMPI

No. Constituency Member Party
Kasaragod district
1 Manjeshwaram A. K. M. Ashraf IUML
2 Kasaragod N. A. Nellikkunnu IUML
Kannur district
3 Irikkur Sajeev Joseph INC
4 Peravoor Sunny Joseph INC
Wayanad district
5 Sulthan Bathery I. C. Balakrishnan INC
6 Kalpetta T Siddique INC
Kozhikode district
7 Koduvally M. K. Muneer IUML
8 Vadakara K. K. Rema RMPI
Malappuram district
9 Kondotty T. V. Ibrahim IUML
10 Eranad P. K. Basheer IUML
11 Wandoor A. P. Anil Kumar INC
12 Manjeri U. A. Latheef IUML
13 Perinthalmanna Najeeb Kanthapuram IUML
14 Mankada Manjalamkuzhi Ali IUML
15 Malappuram P. Ubaidulla IUML
16 Vengara P. K. Kunhalikutty IUML
17 Vallikkunnu P. Abdul Hameed IUML
18 Tirurangadi K. P. A. Majeed IUML
19 Tirur Kurukkoli Moideen IUML
20 Kottakkal K. K. Abid Hussain Thangal IUML
Palakkad district
21 Mannarkkad N. Samsudheen IUML
22 Palakkad Shafi Parambil INC
Thrissur district
23 Chalakudy T. J. Saneesh Kumar Joseph INC
Ernakulam district
24 Perumbavoor Eldhose Kunnappilly INC
25 Angamaly Roji M. John INC
26 Aluva Anwar Sadath INC
27 Paravur V. D. Satheesan INC
28 Thrippunithura K. Babu INC
29 Ernakulam T. J. Vinod INC
30 Thrikkakara P. T. Thomas INC
31 Piravom Anoop Jacob KC (J)
32 Muvattupuzha Mathew Kuzhalnadan INC
Idukki district
33 Thodupuzha P. J. Joseph KEC
Kottayam district
34 Pala Mani C. Kappan UDF Independent
35 Kaduthuruthy Monce Joseph KEC
36 Kottayam Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan INC
37 Puthuppally Oommen Chandy INC
Alappuzha district
38 Haripad Ramesh Chennithala INC
Kollam district
39 Karunagappally C. R. Mahesh INC
40 Kundara P. C. Vishnunadh INC
Thiruvananthapuram district
41 Kovalam M. Vincent INC

Lok Sabha

Map of Kerala showing 2019 Indian General Election Results
Map of Kerala showing 2019 Indian General Election Results

Out of the 20 Lok Sabha (House of the People) constituencies in Kerala, 19 were won by the United Democratic Front in 2019 Lok Sabha election. Later when the Kerala Congress (M) left UDF to join LDF in 2020, the number of seats of UDF fell into 18. The following is the list of United Democratic Front Parliament (Lok Sabha) members from the state of Kerala:

Key

  INC     IUML     RSP  

No. Parliamentary Constituency Member (MP) Party Affiliation
1 Kasaragod Rajmohan Unnithan INC
2 Kannur K. Sudhakaran INC
3 Vatakara K. Muraleedharan INC
4 Wayanad Rahul Gandhi INC
5 Kozhikode M. K. Raghavan INC
6 Malappuram M.P. Abdussamad Samadani IUML
7 Ponnani E. T. Muhammed Basheer IUML
8 Palakkad V. K. Sreekandan INC
9 Alathur Ramya Haridas INC
10 Thrissur T. N. Prathapan INC
11 Chalakudy Benny Behanan INC
12 Ernakulam Hibi Eden INC
13 Idukki Dean Kuriakose INC
14 Mavelikkara Kodikunnil Suresh INC
15 Pathanamthitta Anto Antony Punnathaniyil INC
16 Kollam N. K. Premachandran RSP
17 Attingal Adoor Prakash INC
18 Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor INC

Timeline

Before United Front (1956–1970)

1956

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961

1962

1964

1965

1967

1968

1969

1970

United Front (1970–1979)

1970

1975

1977

See also

References

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Further reading