The way Congress is running its affairs, Pinarayi Vijayan has every right to dream of another chance, if age and health permit.
NEW DELHI: An innocuous statement on RSS by Kerala Pradesh Congress president K. Sudhakaran has been used by the CPM to drive a wedge within the opposition United Democratic Front in the state. Addressing a function last week, Sudhakaran had claimed that in his younger days, he had provided security cover to his friends in the RSS to hold shakhas in the face of threat from CPM goons in Kannur.
While saying this, Sudhakaran had made it clear that he had done so purely on democratic grounds in the belief that everyone has a right to practice whatever he or she believes. Member of Parliament from Kannur, Sudhakaran, is known for his no-hold-barred attitude against communists and has been in the forefront in checkmating CPM in its lair.
Not long ago, Sudhakaran and Pinarayi Vijayan had a go at each other, digging up their past student days at the historic Brennen College in Thalassery, literally washing dirty linen in public. Saner elements in both the parties pulled curtains over the spat before it took a very ugly turn. However, this time, the CPM latched on to Sudhakaran’s comment, saying the PCC president had always been hand in glove with the RSS and warned the Indian Union Muslim League, about the danger lying ahead if it continues to be part of the United Democratic Front. Like the BJP at the national level, CPM aims to make Kerala a “Congress mukt’ state. And like Narendra Modi, who is certain of his third term as Prime Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan harbours hopes of becoming the Chief Minister of Kerala for a record third time. The way Congress is running its affairs in Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan has every right to dream of another chance, if age and health permit.
IUML, the second largest opposition party in Kerala after the Congress with 15 members in the state Assembly, has very cordial relationship with Rahul Gandhi and was instrumental in coercing him to contest from the Wayanad parliamentary constituency, a stronghold of the League.
And the CPM made it a point to rub it in by saying that Rahul Gandhi had always asked the people to dissociate from the RSS and his Bharat Jodo Yatra is all about unifying the country against the dangers of Hindutva ideology.
Even as a section within the Congress and the IUML expressed their concern over Sudhakaran’s statement, the PCC president went one step further and said the country’s first Prime Minister had no hesitation in making Hindu icon Syama Prasad Mukherjee a minister in his Cabinet. While those who know Sudhakaran understood his sentiments, CPM saw in it an opportunity to woo the Muslims further to its side and thereby break the UDF. CPM state secretary M.V. Govindan said people should realise where Sudhakaran is leading the Congress to and urged the Muslim League to react to his statement. The League said it is not taking Sudhakaran’s statement lightly and is meeting in Palakkad to discuss the issue. However, after a meeting of the IUML leadership in Malappuramon Wednesday, party general secretary P.M.A. Salam said Congress leaders, including AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal, Opposition leader V.D. Satheesan had talked to IUML president Panakkad Sadikali Shihab Thangal and national secretary P.K. Kunjalikutty. They assured that the party understood concerns of the IUML and had promised to do the needful. “IUML expressed its stand and Congress responded. We are ending the matter with the belief that Congress will honour the assurances given in this regard,” Salam said.
Sudhakaran has explained that the purpose of his speech was to mobilise anti-fascist forces. A controversy was created by glossing over all those messages and distorting the intent of my speech,” Sudhakaran said.
Ever since the agitation against CAA, the Muslim community in the state has been leaning towards CPM, Pinarayi Vijayan in particular, and this was reflected in the last Assembly elections when LDF managed to make inroads into League fortresses in the Malabar region.
Used to be in power every alternate five years, the leadership of the League has also been restless for quite some time with political circles rife with speculation that the day is not too far when the League switches sides to the Left Democratic Front.