The CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front in Kerala, which has got its campaign ball rolling ahead of its rivals, has a common thread to its electioneering: depicting the Congress and BJP as no different from each other in a bid to woo the crucial minority votes in the state.
After announcing candidates for 20 seats on Saturday, the LDF kickstarted its campaigning by organising constituency-level mass conventions. On Monday, when four such conventions were held, the strategy was evident.
Addressing a Left convention in Attingal on Monday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “In fostering communalism in the country, the Congress has adopted a stand similar to that of the BJP. The Congress has proved this in their stand on cow slaughter and the Ram temple. When Sangh Parivar thrashed people to death over cows, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh boasted that it was his party that had banned cow slaughter. When Sangh Parivar is arguing that the Ram temple should be constructed at the site of Babri Masjid, Congress claims that only they (Congress) can do it. Congress’s national and state-level leaders are still joining the BJP,” he said.
In Thrissur, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran said that BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai and Opposition Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala speak the same language on Hindu fundamentalism. “On Sabarimala, the Congress tells people they are with the faithful like the BJP. The Congress has abandoned the concept of secularism in Kerala to uphold Hindu communalism… the Congress is no different from the BJP,” said Rajendran, addressing a Left candidate’s maiden convention.
Referring to the defection of Congress legislators to the BJP in Gujarat, senior CPI(M) leaders told voters that today’s Congress is tomorrow’s BJP.
Although the general election is mainly fought between the Congress and BJP at the national level, the battle in Kerala is between the Congress and CPI(M). Hence, the critical factor would be who wins the anti-BJP votes from Muslim and Christian minorities, who together form 44 per cent of the population.
Congress state working president Kodikunnil Suresh said CPI(M) has always tried to woo minority sentiments by projecting the Congress as with the BJP. “In minority areas, CPI(M) is driving home the impression that only that party can physically take on Sangh Parivar in Kerala… The bid to create confusion among voters will not work,” he said.