Kerala’s ruling LDF now hits the streets to counter BJP’s Janraksha Yatra
Flagging off the southern leg of the yatra, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Sangh Parivar’s plan to polarise the state on communal lines will not succeed.india Updated: Oct 22, 2017 20:46 IST
It’s the season of high-pitch political ‘yatras’ in the God’s own country.
Kerala’s ruling Left Democratic Front hit the streets on Saturday to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party’s much-hyped Janraksha Yatra earlier this month. Not to be left behind, opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front too is planning another crisscrossing the state.
The BJP had paraded a dozen-odd central ministers and five chief ministers of the party-ruled states, besides its national president Amit Shah during its two-week-long campaign against what it called red and jihadi terror unleashed in the state. The party was referring to spate of attacks on RSS workers in the state, allegedly by activists of the ruling CPI(M). The RSS is the ideological mentor of the saffron party.
The LDF with its twin Jana Jagratha Yatras—one kick-started from the northern end of the state and another from the southern-- is now trying to create counter narratives, accusing the RSS-BJP of trying to polarise the state on communal lines.
Kicking off the southern leg of the yatra chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Sangh Parivar’s plan to convert Kerala into a communally-polarised state would not succeed.
He said BJP’s yatra was not a campaign against the state government but against the whole state.
“BJP and RSS are trying to destroy communal fabric of the country. They don’t believe in democracy and federal polity,” the chief minister said claiming accusations against the state and its government would boomerang on the BJP leadership.
“Though Amit Shah and a number of central ministers and CMs descended on the state and let loose a virulent campaign, the people of Kerala gave them a cold shoulder,” he said.
To drive home its point, the ruling LDF is also planning to highlight the BJP’s poor showing in the Muslim- dominated Vengara in Malappuram district that went to poll in the midst of the yatra. In the by-poll the party polled 1000-odd votes less than what it managed in 2016 assembly election.
The BJP, however, is quick to point out that the LD is worried over the “massive response” its October 3-17 yatra got.
“Panicked by the response we got, the ruling CPI(M) is now making a wrong interpretation that our yatra was against the state. How can it run away from hard realities? How can the criticism raised against the brutal face of the party and social atmosphere prevailing in the state construed as criticism against the state?” BJP state president Kummanam Rajsekharan asked.
Opposition Congress, meanwhile, criticised the ruling front saying it was planning to give the opposition space to the saffron party by giving undue importance to its yatra.
“It seems CPI(M) leaders want to gift opposition slot to the BJP. Its central leaders always chant unity of secular forces but its state unit indirectly supports saffron forces,” said state opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.
First Published: Oct 22, 2017 11:19 IST