In response to the Congress party's poor performance in the recent state elections, particularly in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)-CPI(M) in Kerala is escalating its criticism of the Congress.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accused the Congress of operating as a "B-team" of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and emphasised that the Congress cannot tackle the BJP challenge alone.
In response, senior Congress leader V D Satheesan dismissed the advice, accusing Vijayan of weakening the I.N.D.I Alliance and speaking in favour of the BJP.
While the BJP has not been a major force in Kerala's politics, both the CPI(M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF have consistently highlighted their commitment to countering the perceived threat from the Sangh Parivar, especially concerning the state's Muslim community.
Following the state election results, Vijayan and CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan criticised the Congress for its failure to present a clear strategy to defeat the BJP, asserting that the Congress has become a regional party.
Govindan also blamed the Congress for the CPI(M)'s loss in Rajasthan, suggesting that Congress votes went to the BJP, indicating that Congress sees the CPI(M) as its main rival in the state.
Amidst the criticism, the CPI(M) and CPI have openly opposed Rahul Gandhi's potential candidacy from Wayanad in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
They argue that Rahul should focus on fighting the BJP in the northern regions rather than contesting against a Left ally in Kerala, which could influence the overall election outcome in the state.
The Left's concerns stem from the belief that Rahul's candidacy in Wayanad, considered a safe UDF seat, might impact the larger poll dynamics.
The BJP had targeted Rahul in 2019 for choosing a minority-dominated seat, and the Left fears that his candidacy could influence the Muslim vote, especially given the significant presence of the Indian Union Muslim League, a Congress ally, in Wayanad.
CPI general secretary D Raja and CPI(M) state secretary Govindan expressed the view that Rahul should concentrate on regions where direct confrontations with the BJP are necessary.
Congress leader V D Satheesan stated, “Under pressure from CPI(M) leaders from Kerala, that party did not depute a representative for the I.N.D.I. Alliance. Vijayan is the person who is weakening INDIA to help Sangh Parivar. He speaks for BJP. We don’t want CPI(M) advice.”
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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