With the upcoming assembly polls in mind, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seems to have a multi-pronged political strategy of repeatedly imposing the ‘Hindutva’ tag on the Congress.
Political analysts feel that apart from tapping the minority vote banks, especially the Muslim community, Vijayan is also trying to split the Hindu vote bank for the Kerala Assembly elections that are scheduled to happen in eight months.
Vijayan’s reaction to Congress national leaders’ stand on the Ram Temple issue as well as a recent reply to the no-confidence motion in the Assembly, had emphasised that the Congress was no more a secular party, but a Hindutva party with many Congress leaders eagerly awaiting an invite from the BJP camp.
By creating an impression that the Congress and the BJP were two sides of the same coin, the decisive minority and secular vote bases could be turned in the favour of the Left Front. Moreover, the Hindu votes may get divided between the Congress and the BJP.
The upcoming polls are more crucial for the CPM than they are for the Congress as Kerala is the lone state where the CPM is in power.
According to political analyst Josukutty C A, the main intention of giving the Hindutva tag to the Congress would be to attract the minority votes which are a decisive factor in electoral politics in many constituencies in Kerala as well as the secular vote banks. The hardcore Hindu vote bank would remain with the BJP.
Political analyst Joseph Mathew said that, of late, Kerala was witnessing CPM leaders projecting the BJP as a better opposition than the Congress. CPM leaders have often said that the BJP state president K Surendran reacts first to issues and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress follows him. Surendran had stated that every action of the Kerala government against coronavirus need not be criticised and Vijayan had reciprocated by justifying Surendran’s travel from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram during the lockdown. From all these incidents, it seems like the CPM was building some sort of understanding with the BJP eyeing the upcoming polls. It is unfavourable for Kerala’s secular fabric, he said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Union Muslim League leader and MP E T Mohammed Basheer said that the party never felt that the Congress was becoming Hindutva. The CPM’s propaganda was only aimed at minority vote banks, which would not work, he said.