A war of words erupted on Monday between Left party leaders and the BJP over Union minister Kiren Rijiju’s remark that political violence allegedly by the Left “cannot be tolerated” in a democracy and accused the CPI(M) of harbouring “anti-national” thoughts.
Hitting out at the BJP-RSS, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the Left party was capable of giving a suitable answer if the saffron outfits did not stop alleged political violence. The CPI(M) also criticised the ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’ being led by BJP chief Amit Shah in Kerala, alleging it was aimed at diverting public attention from the “growing discontent” against the central government.
Justifying his move to lead a BJP protest in front of the CPI (M) office in New Delhi, Rijiju said as a party worker and MP, it was his moral responsibility to stand behind the BJP workers who have been “facing” violence allegedly perpetrated by the Left workers in Kerala.
Yechury also held a march till the BJP headquarters in New Delhi to protest against the alleged saffron terror in Kerala. He was joined by former party general secretary Prakash Karat and other politburo members. “We will not keep quite. We warn the BJP that if they do not stop violence then we will answer back. We will not bow down,” Yechury told party cadres.
In Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan alleged the BJP chief was busy implementing the “anti-democratic and anti-political agenda of the RSS”. In a Facebook post, he said Shah has turned to “instigation politics” after the BJP chief’s “politics of caste, religion, money and hatred” were rejected by the people of the state.
Rijiju said the Left in Kerala has been sponsoring and encouraging the attacks on BJP workers. “This kind of Left terror must be stopped as violence has no place in a democracy,” he told PTI. Asked whether it was proper for a Union minister to lead a protest, the BJP leader said he did not break any police barricade and the entire demonstration was peaceful. “Peaceful protests are legal means. As a BJP worker, I must stand behind our Kerala brethren,” he said.
The minister claimed that the “dwindling” support for the communists in Kerala has led to alleged attacks and violence against BJP workers. The Delhi leg of the ‘Jan Raksha Yatra’ led Rijiju was also attended by Union minister V K Singh. In a bid to counter the BJP’s Janaraksha Yatra, the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala organised “people’s gatherings” in parts of the state to highlight alleged attacks on its cadres by activists of the saffron combine.
Inaugurating a gathering in front of the secretariat Thiruvananthapuram,, CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan lashed out at the BJP-RSS combine, alleging that they were unleashing violence in the state.
Scores of workers from the CPI(M) and the BJP/RSS have been killed in the coastal state in the recent years due to an intense turf war between the two sides and the fight has only escalated with a saffron overdrive to make inroads into traditional Left bastions.