Prime Minister Narendra Modi has once again demonstrated the BJP gameplan to nationally vilify Kerala as a violent state. And Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has shown that he is not the kind to shy away from a political fight.
"Give me the name of one BJP worker in Kerala who is not sure of returning back home once he goes out," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot back on Friday. He was responding to prime minister Narendra Modi's comment in Varanasi earlier in the day that BJP workers in Kerala had no guarantee they would return home after voting.
"On what basis has the prime minister said that BJP workers have to fear for their lives in Kerala," the chief minister asked in a Facebook post. He said that it was inappropriate for a prime minister to stoop to such levels.
Pinarayi said it was "highly objectionable" that the prime minister himself was spreading misinformation to insult a state like Kerala that was the most peaceful, and possessed the best law and order indicators, in the country. "It is the Centre's Crime Records Bureau that has testified to Kerala's sterling record in crime management," the chief minister said. "The prime minister should have at least checked up the facts before uttering such blunders," he added.
Pinarayi said in states where the BJP ruled, like in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, Sangh Parivar criminals were not just protected but also actively encouraged. "Don't expect such consideration in Kerala. Here, there is no separate law for Sangh Parivar. Whoever indulges in violence will be brought before the law," the chief minister said.
He said that the RSS would go to any lengths to spread lies. "They have a special mechanism for that. This was how they triggered communal riots in various parts of the state," he said. "It is unfortunate that the prime minister is using a state known for its communal harmony as a background for his falsehoods," the chief minister said.
This tit for tat on violence in the state had been going on for almost a year. At the height of the Sabarimala agitation, the BJP had even indirectly threatened to dismiss the state government. On December 5, BJP spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao had issued a fairly blunt warning. “We advise, warn and caution the chief minister to stop this violence, failing which the CPI-M government will have to face constitutional consequences,” he had said.
Soon after Rao's threat came the NSS general secretary Sukumaran Nair's statement that roundly blamed the state government for the violence that erupted in the state in the wake of the entry of two women into Sabarimala on January 1.
The chief minister had then made it clear he had no regrets about the arrests. “You just have to probe the politics of the 700-odd who had been put in jail in various cases to know who the real culprits are,” he said. “The photograph of an RSS leader throwing a bomb at Nedumangad police station has been published in all major newspapers,” he had added.
Pinarayi Vijayan had then also accused the Sangh Parivar of planning to instigate communal riots in various parts of the state including Kozhikode.