Describing it as a “bitter experience”, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday hit out at the BJP-led government in Madhya Pradesh a day after he was advised by police there not to attend an event in Bhopal following Sangh Parivar protest. The incident also drew flak from rival Congress-led UDF in Kerala. Slamming the BJP-led government and RSS, Vijayan, who is a senior member of the CPI(M) politburo, said what happened in Bhopal was “unjustifiable”. He said it was a “reflection of culture” of the RSS and its affiliates.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy described as “shocking and unfortunate” what Vijayan experienced in the BJP-ruled state and said it was a “naked violation of protocol” underlined in relations between the states in a federal structure.
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BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, however, hit out at Vijayan, accusing him of playing “low level politics” over the issue. Noting that such incidents have “never ever” happened in Kerala, Vijayan said recently when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited a village in politically volatile Kannur district in the midst of high tension due to political violence, no such incidents had occurred there. “This is the difference in the mindset and culture,” said Vijayan, terming the incident as a “bitter experience”.
The chief minister alleged that the Madhya Pradesh police did not take action against the protesters as it was organised by RSS. “When a chief minister of a state is going to attend a programme, a protest is organised without any reason. And police is not taking any action as the protest is being organised by the RSS… then they (the police) asking the chief minister not to attend the function. “We should see a cultural issue in it,” Vijayan told reporters in Kochi.
The CPI(M) Kerala state secretariat described as “uncivilised” the alleged action of Madhya Pradesh government, its police and RSS in preventing the chief minister from attending the function. The party alleged that the incident happened with the knowledge of the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister and BJP’s national leadership. Vijayan was supposed to attend a felicitation programme by Kerala Samaj yesterday. However, when he was about to leave for the venue, Madhya Pradesh Police told him not to go there as RSS and other organisations were protesting against it.
The CPI(M) politburo also said the incident was a “telling commentary” on the condition of law and order machinery in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh which cannot protect a chief minister of another state in its own capital. Police, however, denied the allegations by CPI(M) and said, no question arises of not providing security to the Kerala chief minister.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President V M Sudheeran also condemned the Madhya Pradesh police action of denying permission for Vijayan to attend the function. BJP’s Kerala unit said it was Vijayan who decided not to attend the function after he was informed about protests planned by some outfits.
BJP leader Rajasekharan alleged that Vijayan decided to skip the function even after the police informed him that they had managed to tame the protesters and he could go ahead with the programme. He said Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and state DGP had spoken to Vijayan after the incident. “It is the reflection of their high cultural and ethical values,” Rajasekharan said.
CPI(M) had alleged the chief minister was supposed to attend a felicitation programme organised by Kerala Samaj in Bhopal yesterday but when he was about to leave for attending it, Madhya Pradesh Police told him not to go there as RSS and other organisations were protesting against it.
Following the protest, the programme was cancelled and the Kerala chief minister went back. Leaders of some Hindu outfits had organised a protest before the BSSS College gate, where Vijayan was supposed to be felicitated in the evening. Police later took nearly 20 protesters into custody from the spot.