BJP on Sunday accorded a public reception for 500-odd new members, 350 of them supposedly CPI (M) loyalists, in the Communist stronghold of Kannur in North Kerala. BJP said others belonged to Congress and Communist rebel party Janathipathya Samrakshan Samithi.
These Left men, who were brought to a common platform on Sunday, had moved to Sangh Parivar camp after the BJP came into power at the Centre. A few of them were given BJP membership and others would be inducted into the party at local-level events.
BJP has been steadily gaining ground in the Communist-dominated regions in Kannur district, which had a long history of bloodletting involving Communists and Sangh Parivar cadres. In the last LS elections, the party had dared to campaign in Communist villages where only red flags were allowed to flutter.
BJP former national secretary P K Krishnadas, who addressed the meeting, said the BJP was targeting grassroots-level CPI (M) workers. “Hence, we don’t want to engage in violence with CPI (M) men. We expect some of them to join BJP in future. We are looking for a warm relation with CPI (M) workers,’’ said Krishnadas.
RSS sources in Kannur said the Communists’ outlook towards the Sangh Parivar has been slowly changing. “For the first time, we conducted Raksha Bandan in two Communist villages in Kannur this time. Pro-Left people are more interested in such Hindu festivals, but they are afraid to come out. At one Communist village, people promised to cooperative with us next time,’’ said an RSS leader in Kannur.
CPI (M) district secretary P Jayarajan said those who had attended the reception were their own (BJP) men. One of them had worked with the party a decade back. We haven’t lost any cadre to the BJP, said Jayarajan.