United Democratic Front
AbbreviationUDF
ChairpersonV. D. Satheesan
FounderK. Karunakaran
Founded1979; 43 years ago (1979)
Headquarters"Indira Bhavan", Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala
IdeologyBig tent
Factions
Political positionCentre[4] to centre-left[5] and centre-right
Seats in Lok Sabha
18 / 20
(Kerala)
Seats in Rajya Sabha
2 / 9
(Kerala)
Seats in Kerala Legislative Assembly
41 / 140

The United Democratic Front (UDF) is the Indian National Congress-led alliance of centre to centre-left, and centre-right, political parties in the Indian state of Kerala.[4][5] It is one of the two major political alliances in Kerala, the other being Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front, each of which has been in power alternately since 1980 E. K. Nayanar ministry.[6] Most of the United Democratic Front constituents are members of the Indian National Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at pan-India level.

United Democratic Front was created by the Indian National Congress (then known as Congress-Indira) party leader K. Karunakaran in 1979, as a successor to the existing Congress-led alliance.[7] The alliance first came to power in 1981 (K. Karunakaran ministry) and has won elections to the state legislature of Kerala in the years 1982 (Karunakaran ministry),[8] 1991 (Karunakaran and A. K. Antony ministries),[9] 2001 (Antony and Oommen Chandy ministries),[10] and 2011 (Oomen Chandy ministry).[11] The alliance currently acts as the opposition in the state legislature of Kerala (after the 2021 legislative assembly election). United Democratic Front leaders V. D. Satheesan and K. Sudhakaran currently serves as the Leader of the Opposition and Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President respectively.[12]

The alliance currently consists of Indian National Congress, Indian Union Muslim League, Kerala Congress (Joseph), Kerala Congress (Jacob), Revolutionary Socialist Party and a variety of other smaller parties. The alliance follows big tent policy and includes a variety political parties.[1]

Current members

United Democratic Front is the Indian National Congress-led alliance of political parties in Kerala
United Democratic Front is the Indian National Congress-led alliance of political parties in Kerala

History

Antecedents

Precursors to the United Democratic Front were,

United Democratic Front (1979 – present)

The second-longest serving chief minister of Kerala, K. Karunakaran, was the founder of United Democratic Front
The second-longest serving chief minister of Kerala, K. Karunakaran, was the founder of United Democratic Front

The United Democratic Front (UDF) was formed just before 1980 assembly election. In elections, the Front was defeated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front. However, the fall of the first Left Democratic Front ministry resulted in the 6th President's Rule in Kerala (1981).

United Democratic Front first came into power in Kerala in 1981 under K. Karunakaran.[8] 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.

Chief Ministers

Pre-United Democratic Front Congress Chief Ministers (1956 – 1979)

United Democratic Front Chief Ministers (1981 – present)

List of United Democratic Front Chief Ministers by length of term

United Democratic Front ministry in 1983 (3rd Karunakaran ministry, 1982 - 87)
United Democratic Front ministry in 1983 (3rd Karunakaran ministry, 1982 - 87)
United Democratic Front ministry in 1991 (4th Karunakaran ministry, 1991 - 95)
United Democratic Front ministry in 1991 (4th Karunakaran ministry, 1991 - 95)
No. Name (Ministry) Length of term[18]
Longest continuous term Total years of premiership
1 K. Karunakaran (1918 - 2010) 4 years, 305 days

(1982 - 87)

8 years, 315 days

(four terms)

2 A. K. Antony (born 1940) 3 years, 74 days

(2001 - 04)

5 years, 306 days

(three terms)

3 Oommen Chandy (born 1943) 5 years, 6 days

(2011 - 16)

6 years, 256 days

(two terms)

Leaders of Opposition (U. D. F)

United Democratic Front Conveners

P. J. Joseph served as the first United Democratic Front Convener (1980–82)
P. J. Joseph served as the first United Democratic Front Convener (1980–82)
Period U D F Convener Political affiliation
1979–80 Nil
1980–82 P. J. Joseph Kerala Congress
1982–85 Oommen Chandy[19] Indian National Congress
1985–2001 K. Sankaranarayanan[20]
2001–04 Oommen Chandy[19]
2004–18 P. P. Thankachan[21][22]
2018–20 Benny Behanan[22][23]
Incumbent M. M. Hassan[12]

Legacy

K. Karunakaran

Cochin International Airport

The Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, was established by bifurcating University of Kerala during the period of 3rd Karunakaran ministry (1982 - 87). It was during the second U. D. F. government (Third Karunakaran ministry), that the last two districts of Kerala, namely Pathanamthitta and Kasaragod, were inaugurated, raising the total number of districts in Kerala to fourteen.[24] During his third tenure as Chief Minister (1982-87), Karunakaran directly handled the Scheduled Castes Development.[24] Kerala State Film Development Corporation was also introduced during the tenure of Karunakaran.[24]

Chief Minister Karunakaran was instrumental in several infrastructure projects in Kerala which includes the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi,[25] and the Cochin International Airport, both of which were sanctioned during his 1991-95 stint as the Chief Minister.[26] Vallarpadam Terminal, which later became the first transshipment terminal in India was other key project coined during the administration of Karunakaran.[27] Other major infrastructure projects introduced during the terms of Karunakaran include the Goshree Bridges of Kochi, Guruvayur Railway Line, and Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant at Kayamkulam.[24] The first phase of Kollam Bypass was completed in 1993.[citation needed]

A. K. Antony

Introduction of Information Technology as a subject in school level were initiated in 2001 by Third Antony ministry.
Introduction of Information Technology as a subject in school level were initiated in 2001 by Third Antony ministry.

Antony administration was instrumental in the establishment of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology at Thiruvananthapuram.[28] The InfoPark at Kochi was established in the year 2004.[29] It was also under his administration that the Kannur University was created by bifurcating the University of Calicut. The University of Sanskrit was inaugurated in 1994.[30] The Indian Institute of Management and the National Institute of Technology at Kozhikode were established in the years 1996 and 2002 respectively.[31] The "I. T. at School Project" and introduction of Information Technology as a subject in school level were initiated in 2001 by Third Antony ministry, making Kerala the first Indian state to do so.[32] Antony also carried out Asian Development Bank aided "Modernization of Government Plan".[32]

The Akshaya Project was implemented in 2002 to expand digital literacy in Kerala.[33] During his tenure as Chief Minister, A. K. Antony introduced the Unemployment Allowance, Festival Allowance for the Kerala state employees.[34]

During his tenure as Chief Minister, A. K. Antony introduced the prohibition of arrack in Kerala.[34] It was at Chief Minister Antony's behest that the decision to construct the new Kerala Legislature Complex was taken in 1977.[34] He also ordered the closure of the Kerala Coca-Cola plant in 2004 due to non-availability of drinking water in the plant area.[35]

Oommen Chandy

It was also during tenure of Oommen Chandy that 12 new taluks, 28 new municipalities, and Kannur Municipal Corporation were formed.[36][37] It was the largest taluk delimitation in the state of Kerala after 1957.[38][36] The Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC) was formed under KSRTC in 2015 to manage affairs related to urban transportation.[39]

Oommen Chandy in September 2015
Oommen Chandy in September 2015

The Chandy ministry established new Government Medical Colleges in Kerala (in 2013, after a gap of 31 years).[40] [41] The "Karunya Scheme" was implemented in the year 2011–12 for the free treatment of patients with cancer, haemophilia, kidney, and heart diseases.[42][43] A number of organ implantation surgeries were done through the "Mruthasanjeevani Project".[44] The Second Chandy ministry had also took decision to prohibit liqueur in Kerala by discouraging bars.[45] The number of political killings were relatively low (11) during the period 2011–16 in the state.[46]

Rubber subsidy to ensure a minimum price of Rs 150/kg was implemented in 2015.[47]

In 2005, Information Technology was made a compulsory subject for the school-level students.[32] Victers TV, the children's television channel on EDUSAT for schools, was inaugurated in 2005.[48] 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 Malayalam University at Tirur (2012) and Technological University at Thiruvananthapuram (2014).[49][50][51] The National Institute of Visual Science and Arts at Kottayam was inaugurated in January 2016.[52] Kerala was declared as the first complete digital state of India on 27 February 2016.[53]

The Kerala Public Service Commission filled the vacant posts during 2011–16.[54] As many as 167,096 job candidates were appointed, setting a record.[54] As many as 46,223 posts were created in the same period.[54] The Phase-3 of the Technopark at Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated 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] Chandy's regime was instrumental in beginning the construction of the Smart City Project.[62]

Chandy received the United Nation's Public Service Award for his Mass Contact Programme ("Jana Samparkka Paripadi").[63] [64] The government also sanctioned of Unemployment Allowance.[19] Social welfare pension amounts and numbers were doubled during the second Chandy ministry.[54] [44] Old-age pension amounts were also increased.[54] Other social welfare measures during Chandy reign include free ration for those who lost their employment.[64] Free rice was given to those who did not belong to Above Poverty Line (APL).[44] Food kits were distributed to the people during Onam, the Eid, and Christmas.[44]

Chandy government constructed more than 400,000 houses for the homeless people in Kerala.[64]

Chandy's regime was instrumental in beginning the construction of Kannur Airport,[62][65] the Kochi Metro,[62][66][65] and the Vizhinjam Port near Thiruvananthapuram.[62][65] The Kochi-Mangalore GAIL pipeline was commissioned by the second Chandy ministry in 2013.[67] In 2015, the Cochin Airport became the world's first fully solar powered airport.[68][69] During his period, 227 road bridges worth nearly Rs 16 billion were built across Kerala.[70][44]

A number of state highways were constructed under Chandy government and the final decision to widen the national highways of the state to 45 m were taken in 2014.[71] Several "bypass" roads were also constructed.[44]

Kerala Assembly Election results

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

Electoral history

Mandate Seats secured Ruling coalition Majority
LDF UDF Others
1980 93 46 1 LDF 47
UDF -
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


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 140-member Kerala Legislative Assembly. The alliance currently forms the Opposition in the Assembly.

Key

  Indian National Congress (INC)     Indian Union Muslim League (IUML)     Kerala Congress (KEC)     Kerala Congress (Jacob) (KC (J))    Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (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 Uma 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 Independent (U D F)
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 (inlcuding Thomas Chazhikadan, Kerala Congress Mani from Kottayam). Later when the Kerala Congress Mani crossed floors to join Left Democratic Front (2020), the number of M. P.s reduced to 18.

The following is the list of United Democratic Front Lok Sabha members from the state of Kerala:

Key

  INC     IUML     RSP  

No. Parliamentary Constituency Member (M. P.) 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

Rajya Sabha

The following is the list of United Democratic Front Rajya Sabha members from the state of Kerala:

Key

  INC     IUML  

No. State Member (M. P.) Party Affiliation
1 Kerala Jebi Mather INC
2 P. V. Abdul Wahab IUML

See also

References

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Further reading