Kerala assembly by-polls: Congress blames RSS’ ploy to transfer vote for loss on 2 seats
The outfit said both the CPI(M) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to protect the sentiments of believers in the Sabarimala issue.Updated: Oct 25, 2019, 18:03 IST
After its humiliating loss in two assembly segments in Kerala assembly by-polls, a section of the Congress party alleged that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) transferred votes to the CPI(M) to teach the Nair Service Society (NSS) a lesson.
NSS, a social outfit of upper caste Nairs which keeps an equal distance from all political parties, openly supported the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) for the first time in these by-polls held on October 21.
The outfit said both the CPI(M) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) failed to protect the sentiments of believers in the Sabarimala issue.
Though the UDF won three out of five seats on Thursday, the trophy went to the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) after its candidates breached two Congress forts of Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram and Konni in Pathanamthitta district.
“The RSS has transferred votes to the CPI(M) in a big way to teach the NSS a lesson. It never wants NSS to take credit of Hindu consolidation on Sabarimala,” senior party leader K Muraleedharan, who vacated the Vattiyoorkavu assembly constituency to become a Lok Sabha member from Vadakara, said.
“So, it systematically transferred votes to the CPI(M) candidates, especially in Vattiyoorkavu, to put the NSS in a bad light,” Muraleedharan said.
He said besides him opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and the chief of Congress’ Kerala unit Mullapally Ramachandran were also aware of the “RSS ploy to transfer votes”.
He said in the last assembly and Lok Sabha elections the BJP candidate, former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, had got more than 45,000 votes in Vattiyoorkavu but this time the party’s candidate S Suresh managed only 27,000 votes.
“I sniffed this unholy alliance and alerted the candidate and other office-bearers. It seems nobody took it seriously,” he said adding the RSS did this deliberately to embarrass the NSS.
The CPI(M) candidate VK Prashanth, also the Thiruvananthapuram mayor, had won more than 14,465 votes in Vattiyoorkavu and in Konni of Pathanamthitta district where the famed hill temple Sabarimala is situated, its candidate KU Janeesh Kumar beat the Congress’ P Mohanraj by more than 9000 votes.
The Congress had won in Vattiyoorkavu, in the last three elections and in Konni the CPI(M) notched a win after 23 years.
As the Congress and CPI(M) traded barbs on “missing BJP votes”, the BJP chided both saying they were in a race to hide their losses.
“It is good the Congress finally admitted that the RSS is a force to reckon with in Kerala. It lost two traditional seats and the CPI(M) lost one. They are in search for alibis to hide their discomfiture,” the BJP’s state unit president PS Sreedharan Pillai said.
Pillai asked both the parties to address their woes rather than shedding tears for missing the RSS and BJP votes. He also said that his party will study the setbacks in these two constituencies.
Congress leaders admitted that the decision of the NSS to openly announce its support for the party has done more harm than any help. As the NSS worked for the UDF there was a consolidation of other castes against it, they said. Many senior leaders have asked the party to do an introspection and correct the flaws.
There is a strong demand to remove Kochi’s mayor Soumini Jain. In Ernakulam Congress candidate TJ Vinod had retained the seat with a thin margin of 3750 votes.
In the 2016 assembly election, Hibi Eden had won the seat with a margin of 28,000 votes.
On the day of the voting, there was a heavy downpour and waterlogging in Kochi resulted in poor polling. Though the Congress candidate won, it was a close shave.
Political observers say the recent by-poll results clearly show the BJP has lost its edge on Sabarimala temple issue and that the people have rejected caste cards flaunted by certain forces and given preference to bread and butter issues.
“You can’t take people for a ride citing emotional issues. It is a wake-up call for the Congress also,” political observer and senior journalist Sunnykutty Abraham said.
As the issue over supporting a party raged, the NSS’ general secretary G Sukumaran Nair reiterated that his organisation never asked its members to support any particular party or individual.
But Sukumaran said it had given a call to support those who would protect believers.