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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Kannur violence: Kerala’s vote bank politics

Political violence has returned to Kerala at a time when the BJP is struggling to grow by making inroads into the CPI (M) vote bank.

Written by Shaju Philip |
Updated: October 7, 2016 5:07:14 pm
Kannur violence, Kerala, CPI (M) worker, CPI (M), BJP Thrissur, CPI (M) Kasaragod, kerala politics, kerala CPIM, kerala BJP, kerala, kerala news, india news, indian express news For last two months, CPI (M) leaders have been attacking the SNDP Yogam leadership for allegedly shifting it towards the BJP camp.

Last Friday, the Onam festival in Kerala was marred by two political murders. A CPI (M) worker was killed in Kasaragod and a BJP worker in Thrissur. The murders triggered stray incidents of violence in many parts of Kerala, particularly in Kannur which remains tense for the fourth consecutive day.

Political violence has returned to Kerala at a time when the BJP is struggling to grow by making inroads into the CPI (M) vote bank. Although there is no tangible flow of CPI (M) workers to the BJP, the former is really worried over two factors.

The surge in the BJP’s vote bank in the recently held by-election to Aruvikkara was a rude shock for the CPI (M). It has created the impression that the BJP is fast gaining on the CPI (M).

Adding to CPI (M) woes, the prominent Ezhava community outfit Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam has been making overtures to the BJP. Within the Hindu fold, the Ezhava community has been the CPI (M) mainstay in Kerala’s electorate. The CPI (M) realizes that it would be disastrous for the party if SNDP Yogam grew closer to the BJP and a section of the Ezhava votes deserted the CPI (M) for the right wing party.

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For last two months, CPI (M) leaders have been attacking the SNDP Yogam leadership for allegedly shifting it towards the BJP camp, which, according to the CPI (M), would dilute the principles of its founder and social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.

To retain the Hindu voters, CPI (M) has been engaged in gimmicks such as allowing party workers to observe Ganesholsav. Recently, CPI (M) workers were heard prominently praising Narayana Guru in a bid to woo the Ezhava community.

For these reasons, the Ezhava vote bank in Kerala, especially in Kannur, has been under pressure from the CPI (M) and the BJP. The majority of those who have died and those who have been involved in the killings from the CPI (M) and the BJP in Kannur belong to the Ezhava community.

The BJP bid to win over Hindu voters and the CPI (M)’s attempt to foil it, will foment trouble in North Kerala — a theatre of political violence in the past. The CPI (M) will conduct a Sri Krishna Jayanti pageant on September 5 to counter a similar procession scheduled by the Sangh Parivar’s Balagokulam. The CPI (M) has already provoked the BJP by saying that Balagokulam’s Jayanti observance is a mad show of devoutness. Thus, the Jayanti celebrations have become a show of strength for both parties and neither is likely to back off from a confrontation.

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