THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A concerted attempt by the Congress in Kerala to drive a wedge between the CPI(M) and the Muslim community has come a cropper.
The Congress saw a chance to weaken the Muslim community’s support to the CPI(M) in a statement purportedly made by former Prime Minister and Janata Dal(S) chief Deve Gowda that Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had backed his move to align with the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) in Karnataka!
The Congress in the State grabbed the chance with alacrity to create a rift between the CPI(M) and the Muslim community. Leader of the opposition V D Satheesan said Gowda’s statement revealed what he called a secret nexus between the CPI(M) and the BJP. He also said the CBI’s ‘dithering’ in the SNC-Lavalin case in the Supreme Court proved the CPI(M)-BJP links.
Chief Minister Pinarayi, promptly condemned Gowda’s statement. Gowda is floating barefaced lies to justify his political flip-flops, Vijayan said, adding that Gowda had betrayed the founding socialist ideals of the JD(S) to join hands with the BJP in 2006 so that his son, Kumaraswamy could become the Karnataka Chief Minister. “Public propriety and political decency demand that Deve Gowda correct his absurd statement, Pinarayi said. “At no stage has the CPI(M) tried to interfere in the internal matters of JD(S). As Chief Minister, there never arose a situation where I had to intervene in their internal affairs. We cannot be held responsible for such blabberings,” Pinarayi said in a strongly-worded statement. The opportunistic alliance is nothing new, he pointed out. Pinarayi also drew the Congress leaders’ attention to the fact that the boot is on the other leg. The Congress, Vijayan said, had helped BJP candidate Sumalatha to win the Mandya Lok Sabha seat in Karnataka. Moreover, the Congress was in cahoots with the BJP in several local bodies in Kerala to keep the LDF out of power.
The CM also justified the JD(S) presence in the Left Democratic Front(LDF) Cabinet in Kerala. JD(S) state president Mathew T Thomas and minister K. Krishnan Kutty had disavowed Gowda’s opportunistic rightwing lurch and decided to stay with the LDF. CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury fully backed Vijayan’s stand saying that Gowda’s response was utterly absurd. He further said Gowda’s age must have clouded his understanding of recent political decisions. “How can a party called Janata Dal(Secular) align with the BJP?” asked Yechury.
In a later development, Deve Gowda himself denied his statement to the effect that the Kerala CM had given the green signal for the JD(S)-BJP tie-up in Karnataka. “There is some confusion in the CPI(M) regarding my statement. I never said the CPI(M) in Kerala supports the BJP-JD(S) alliance. I only said that my party is getting along with the LDF Government there, as things within my party units outside Karnataka remain unresolved after our alliance with the BJP,” Gowda added.
Gowda’s son and former Karnataka chief minister H D Kumaraswamy also said that his party’s Kerala unit continues to be part of the LDF Government. The situation in Kerala is different, Kumaraswamy said, adding that the “issue we have is confined to our party in Karnataka. It is not something we wish to discuss with the Kerala Chief Minister,” he stated.
On its part, the Kerala unit of the JD(S) put things in proper perspective by disassociating itself from the “disgusting political stigma” of its national leadership deciding to join hands with the BJP in Karnataka. The party’s Kerala unit holds a cabinet portfolio under the LDF Government in the state.
With the Kerala unit of the JD(S) itself firmly disowning the party’s national leadership and Deve Gowda also issuing a rejoinder to his earlier statement which created a controversy, the Congress in Kerala has ended up with egg on its face. The Congress had hoped to cash in on Gowda’s statement to undermine the CPI(M)’s growing support among the Muslim community. But the party’s nefarious designs have been thwarted. (IPA Service)