On Tuesday, BJP president Amit Shah kicked off a grand Jan Raksha Yatra in Kerala’s Kannur to protest against and “expose” Communist Party of India (Marxist). BJP has alleged that as many as 120 BJP workers have been killed in Kerala since 2001 and holds CPI (M) responsible for it.
Janaraksha Yatra flagged off by @AmitShah in Kannur Kerala @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/JHchxLZ92w— Liz Mathew (@MathewLiz) October 3, 2017
The Jan Raksha Yatra, held under the theme of ‘All have to live! Against Jihadi-Red Terror’, from Payyannur will travel through the state before ending in Thiruvananthapuram on October 17.
Join Shri @AmitShah as he undertakes a pad yatra in Kannur, to expose the violent politics of the Left. Live at @BJP4India. #ShahInKannur pic.twitter.com/Lmsgsagerz— BJP (@BJP4India) October 3, 2017
While the party may pitch it as a genuine concern, it seems BJP has a larger game plan in mind. With 2019 elections approaching, Amit Shah’s big focus is on the states where the BJP has never been in power. And for BJP, Kerala has always been a tough nut to crack. Now with the saffron party challenging the dominion of the Left on its turf, a war of words and political tussle was imminent, to say the least.
What are the leaders saying?
Just a day before the rally, Union human resource minister Prakash Javadekar took a dig at the party saying, “CPM has become Communist Party of Maoists.”
On Tuesday, Amit Shah started the rally with a powerful speech saying that with the dawn of Left rule in Kerala, political violence has also risen. He questioned human rights activists who maintain silence over such political killings.
The once peaceful land of Kerala has been bloodied in political violence ever since communist party rose to power here. #ShahInKannur pic.twitter.com/Bwi9q64lx4— BJP (@BJP4India) October 3, 2017
Some champions of human rights turn blind and deaf on the incidents of communist violence against BJP and RSS workers. #ShahInKannur pic.twitter.com/tEfhIymrR5— BJP (@BJP4India) October 3, 2017
Shah also came down heavily on chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying he is responsible for most of the political murders in north Kerala.
“Since the LDF government came to power 13 of our workers got killed. Some of the gory murders took place in CM’s own constituency. He is answerable for these killings,” he said.
The CPI (M)
Vijayan hit back at Shah and said the Communist movement will not budge in the face of such “flamboyance” or “troop movement” by the Sangh Parivar.
October 5, 2017
Calling the rally, a “damp squib”, he further said Kerala has nothing to learn from a party that considers Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse as God, reported The Indian Express.
Brinda Karat too slammed the BJP and said, “Manufacturing of lies is flourishing under PM Modi and Amit Shah.”
Comrade Brinda Karat speaks on the BJP/RSS intimidation tactics against CPIM by holding Dharnas everyday outside CPIM Party Offices. pic.twitter.com/3I8GcW76Sq— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) October 4, 2017
“The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is not the victim, in fact a large number of CPI(M) cadres have been killed by the RSS. It wants to intimidate those who stand up against its terror tactics and communal hatred,” she alleged.
Yogi Adityanath too joined the rally
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Wednesday also joined BJP’s 15-day foot march rally clearly indicating that BJP is trying to use the Uttar Pradesh template in the southern state.
Glimpses of CM @myogiadityanath leading #JanaRakshaYatra in Kannur, Kerala. pic.twitter.com/PK1hcsuGko— BJP LIVE (@BJPLive) October 4, 2017
Adityanath said the rally intends to show a mirror to the governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, who speak of democracy but in reality believe in violence. He also accused the Left party of promoting “jihadi terrorism” and said it was its nature to “grab power at gunpoint”, as per Hindustan Times.
“Political killings are taking place in the state. Especially, the way the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and RSS workers are being targeted, we are here to create awareness in the regard…We, through this initiative, want that these governments repent and introspect their deeds and stop violence. Killings of innocent people should stop,” said Adityanath.
Hitting back at BJP and RSS, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the cycle of violence was started by the BJP, the day assembly election results were announced in Kerala last year.
The CPI(M) has also put up a ‘Fact Sheet on RSS/BJP Violence in Kerala’ on Twitter, stating that in Kerala, it is the CPI(M) and other constituents of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) that have been at the receiving end of the ‘murderous attacks’ mounted by the RSS and its outfits.
#RSSTerror Fact Sheet on RSS/BJP Violence in Kerala. pic.twitter.com/VSUhHCD3Vl— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) October 5, 2017
He even tweeted that that BJP did not stand a chance at winning the Kerala assembly.
CPI(M) stands for uplifting the most backward in India and upholding of India’s vibrant pluralism. That makes the BJP most uncomfortable.— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 4, 2017
#GoingSouth #Economy #Jumlanomics pic.twitter.com/n5bKQRx3O2— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) October 5, 2017
CPIM Kerala State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan alleged the rally is aimed at disrupting the peace and harmony in the state.
#RSSTerror RSS Unleashes attacks; as Shah spits venom. RSS goons destroyed ATMs, attacked hospitals & telephone exchanges in Kannur. pic.twitter.com/Ctq0koAk45— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) October 4, 2017
He said the whole Kerala march is a ploy to deflect attention from the growing public anger and discontent over the Narendra Modi government’s performance.
The war of words had started way before the rally
Even before Adityanath had arrived in Kerala, the CPI(M) had taken to social media to invite the UP CM to Kerala hospitals to “learn to run hospitals effectively”.
In fact, the Chief Ministers of both the states had been targeting each other since news emerged about Yogi Adityanath’s travel to Kerala. Here’s how Vijayan took on his Uttar Pradesh counterpart
It really amuses me that you found time for Kerala, despite the fact the large number of problems exists in UP (as per news paper reports)— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) October 4, 2017
But dear I am sure this break (BEAUTIFUL-HAPPY-PEACEFUL KERALA trip) would help you to get rejuvenated for facing various issues in UP.— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) October 4, 2017
The Kerala Chief Minister and CPI (M) also reminded him about Uttar Pradesh’s track record in health.
Thanks @myogiadityanath 🙏for letting every Indian know that KERALA’S IMR is not only far better than UP but also many DEVELOPED countries.😀 pic.twitter.com/lMVHd3IhEK— Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) October 4, 2017
#KeralaLeads – BJP Leaders need to learn from the #KeralaModel & discard #JumlaEconomics, #RSSLies to improve the lives of people! pic.twitter.com/o4tqeE98Fr— CPI (M) (@cpimspeak) October 4, 2017
Eighteen other union ministers are set to spend one day each taking part in the rally. Let’s see what more jibes come up.