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P C Punnen
P C Punnen
Weekend Special

Kerala has to show a way out

P.C. Punnen

Today's Communists can be tomorrow's BJP men and today's Congressmen can be tomorrow’s Communists or BJP men. That is the strange thing about Kerala's Bishops and others eternally communal but salvaging liberal folks.

The Communist party and the BJP were born with different ideologies unlike India's oldest party, the Congress, ideology of which shifts according to space and time. Ideology is not the strong point of regional parties, except perhaps the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. In this context, it is very difficult to analyse who will rule India but that is dependent on the votes of the people, and we as a nation will have to accept it. The BJP last time won only hardly 32 percent of the people's votes. Yet it had 282 members of parliament. That said, let us go into today's issues which Keralites, the country's top in literacy, faces or have to decide.

In this battle, a no holds barred one I hope Keralites will wipe out the BJP which tried to turn the concept of fulfilling the RSS ideology. Keralites have to say no to the RSS. Not that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn't done anything so far. He has tried to give the Muslim women their basic right by introducing a law banning talaq talaq talaq which has been in practice since independence. The Congress and the Communists didn't do anything about it.

That said let us look at the goings on in Kerala. Asianet has conducted a survey. It predicts a resounding victory for the Congress led front and a dismal performance by the ruling CPM.

EMS Nambodiripad was the first chief minister of Kerala, when Govindan Nair was the chief of the undivided Communist Party of India in Kerala. Politics is a strange game. Today's enemy is tomorrow's friend, no permanent friends or permanent enemies. That is India's politics now, a contribution of Kerala.

We citizens will be bamboozled with what happened then. The government was dismissed by Jawaharlal Nehru. The Congress was trying since the inception of the government to topple it. As a last trick they lent support to the Vimochana Samaram led by Mannanth Padmanabhan. It was supported by the Christian bishops. During the agitation, Keralites witnessed what we recently saw in Sabarimala. C. Achutha Menon was a senior minister in the cabinet.The agitators called him Arukola Menon. Hardly 10 years later, he was chosen the chief minister with Congress support. By then the communist party had split and he was with the CPI and EMS in CPIM. He continued as chief minister for 10 years with Congress support. It was a turn in Kerala's history. Later one saw Congress, CPIM and CPI coming together and shortly after CPIM moving out.

Then on power became the main objective of the leaders and political parties. Ideologies got diluted. On the altar of power, values like secularism, socialism, equality, et al were sacrificed. Communist revolutionaries and Gandhian idealists had no qualms to compromise with casteism, communalism and corruption to attain political power.

The objective of seeking power to work for an ideology and serving the masses disappeared from the political scene and power for personal aggrandizement and authoritarian rule took over. Consequently, today's Congressmen could be tomorrow's Communists and vice versa. In a new development, the aspirants can knock at the doors of the BJP who are willing and open to one and all. History has changed just as Keralites have changed and the priests too have followed suit.

Let us take a look at the sayings of those who led the Kerala politics and the similar politics which has gone on in India. The man who had promised Acche Din (good days) to the voters is lambasting the opposition parties. His speeches, in a language, no other prime minister spoke. The man, who had promised free loans to agriculturists, has gone to the extent of saying in the Rafale deal he alleged Narendra Modi is a thief. He has demanded that Modi should tell the people about the Rafale deal. Modi has gone to the extent of saying that Chandrababu Naidu the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh is the father of Nikesh. Chandrababu Naidu has retaliated saying Modi was the husband of Yashodhara, married decades back and abandoned. Rahul Gandhi was called a pappu by BJP leaders.

Pinarayi Vijayan Kerala's chief minister had called a Bishop words that are not heard in public domain. It could have been pardoned if he was a petty politician. M.M Mani now a Kerala minister had fired potshots at political rivals speaking about one, two, three, for planned murder of politicians. A case was registered against him by the Congress which was then in power. Mani’s speeches do cross the borders of decency. His party colleague and MLA, Rajendran, spoke in an objectionable language against a lady IAS officer, which even a normally tolerant CPIM leadership could not accept and has decided action against him. More such things can be said about the MLAs and leaders from other states too. The fall in standards is shocking.

In the olden days such things were not reported or did not happen. The reason could be there were politicians wedded to higher values and principles like Jawaharlal Nehru , Indira Gandhi, Ambedkar and opposition leaders like Vajpayee, Advani, Prof Hiren Mukherjee and Annadurai, to name very few. Those days are gone it seems.

Has the country gone so low? Has the country become tolerant of such rude utterings? Indications are that, sadly. Speaking of Kerala Achutha Menon, EMS , Congress leader R Sankar were all of a different category. They had more serious matters and more serious issues to handle. They spoke when they had something to convey or when the occasion demanded.

There is no point in quarrelling over silly issues like temples or churches. Or quarrel and shed blood over what to eat, what to read or what music to hear. Keralites have to show a way out of the mess that the nation is facing as they have done in the past. C'est la vie as the French say.