NRI Dunia
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RSS root hunt among Kerala rivals CPM and Congress

An unusual element has been injected into the political slugfest between Kerala rivals CPM and Congress — the RSS past of some of their influential leaders.

In an article CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has penned for party mouthpiece Deshabhimani on Friday, the senior leader has called Congress veteran Ramesh Chennithala the “heartbeat of the RSS” and the “Sarsanghchalak within the Congress”, highlighting how Chennithala’s father had been close to the RSS. The RSS chief is called the Sarsanghchalak.

The embers have been stoked by an article in RSS mouthpiece Janmabhumi on Tuesday that referred to the closeness of Chennithala’s father, Ramakrishnan Nair, with the Right-wing outfit and how he used to attend its programmes. The article, however, dealt predominantly with CPM politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai, who had once been associated with the RSS.

Although none of this is unknown, the sudden naming of leaders in connection with the RSS, whose ideology is starkly different from the secular credentials of the Left and the Congress, has assumed significance in the light of the impending elections in Kerala, especially at a time the Congress has been trying to corner the CPM and chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan who had been till recently on strong ground due to the effective handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Although bitter rivals in Kerala, the Congress and the CPM have found common ground elsewhere predominantly because of the secular principles that have set then apart from the Sangh parivar. In Kerala too, the two parties had together opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act, which is discriminatory towards Muslims, before again targeting each other as the local body and Assembly elections loom.