Kerala will again witness political odysseys, at least a couple of them, immediately after the land’s traditional festival of Onam. Normally such odysseys are undertaken by political parties and their leaders either on the eve of lections or as and when a new leader assumes office. The proposed post Onam odysseys are also planned for political propaganda warranted by the peculiar political situation in the state where the cult of violence tends to spread with alarming fury. Several lives have been lost as a result of the politics of violence, prompting the parties concerned and their respective leaders to explain to the people at large.
The state leadership of BJP which has been often at the receiving end of political violence in Kerala, unleashed allegedly by CPM which heads the ruling Left Democratic Front, is taking out a ‘Kerala Raksha Yathra’ (Save Kerala March) from Kannur to Thiruvananthapuram against “Jihadi-Red terror”. State President Kummanam Rajasekharan will be leading the ‘yathra’ which would cover eleven out of the total fourteen districts. Significantly the march starts from the hotbed of violent politics, Kannur where scores have been butchered in the name of ideology and culminates in Thiruvananthapuram the state capital which about a month back witnessed the cold blooded political murder of a young RSS activist. The ‘yathra’ will tour through the length and breadth of Kerala for seventeen days altogether.
Unlike in the past the political odyssey by BJP state president will be in national focus as the party’s national president Amit Shah and thirteen party chief ministers of different states are joining the ‘Kerala Raksha Yathra’. Significantly Amit Shah is expected to tread along with Kummanam Rajasekharan and his party colleagues through Pinarayi, the village of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The home village of the chief minister is also the birthplace of the undivided Commmunist Party in the state. It is one among the prominent party villages where no flag or no slogan other than that of CPM and no activity of any party other than CPM is ever allowed by comrades. It is against the red background that Amit Shah walking right in front of Pinarayi Viijayan’s house causes alarm. Incidentally, it was at a stone’s throw from the chief minister’s house that a young RSS activist was hacked to death last year allegedly by CPM workers.
Amit Shah is, no doubt, posing an open challenge and causing grave embarrassment to CPM and the chief minister. After flagging off the ‘yathra’ at the north end Kannur, the BJP national president will later comedown to southern most Thiruvananthapuram where he intends to tread through Sreekaryam where only last month, an RSS Mukhyasishak was murdered. Not only the all India president’s escort to Kummannam but also other chief ministers belonging to the party joining the ‘yathra’ in solidarity is likely to rouse ripples in the state. Apparently, therefore, the CPM top brass in the state are at their wit’s end, not knowing how effectively the BJP’s open challenge be countered or at least addressed.
All that the CPM leadership has done so far in addressing the political problems posed to them by BJP, is to take out two ‘pracharana yathras’, one from the north end of the state and the other from the south end to counter BJP’s jana raksha yathra. The twin ‘yathras’ are scheduled to be held under LDF banner in October, only after Kummannam’s yathra concludes. A series of public meetings are also planned by the party in all districts “to expose the Sangh Parivar’s game plan”. Other details are yet to be finalised. Now to what extent, CPM will be able to counter BJP and how far political mileage BJP would gain by the ‘jana raksha yathra’ is what political observers and the people are eagerly watching.