Taking on the CPI(M) in north Kerala, its old stronghold, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi asked the party to stop the “politics of violence”.
During his interaction with Youth Congress workers in Kasargode, 550 km north of Thiruvananthapuram, he said: “The CPM is out to impose things found in outdated books.”
On his whirlwind one-day tour, being seen as a preparatory move before the April 2011 assembly election campaign, Gandhi addressed three meetings of Youth Congress workers in the state.
Gandhi said Congress workers should not get provoked, especially at a time when “the civic bodies and assembly elections are fast approaching”.
North Kerala, also known as the Malabar region, remains the ruling CPI(M)’s backbone. For, most of its tall leaders, including A.K. Gopalan, E.K. Nayanar and Pinarayi Vijayan, came from this region.
It is also home to some of the bloodiest political clashes. More than 300 people were killed in the two-decade-long CPI(M)-RSS clashes here. And Gandhi chose this region to fire his first salvo at the ruling party before the assembly elections in April next year.
Asserting that the Congress always upheld democratic values and it never stifled freedom of expression, he accused the CPI(M) of always suppressing the freedom of expression. He also met Congress workers who were injured in CPI(M) attacks.
Gandhi assured party workers that regular organisational polls would be held at all levels and imposing of leaders through the “parachute system” would be stopped as soon as possible. “Merit should be the only criteria.”