In an interview, O Rajagopal said that the CPI(M) had been the main opponent of the Congress, the IUML and the BJP.

Rajagopal in a light orange kurtha has specs on and an open smile is against a plain offwhite background
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 22:14

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s senior state leader and lone Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Kerala O Rajagopal has alleged that the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has had an ‘adjustment’ with the BJP earlier. Both the Congress and the IUML are allies of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF). O Rajagopal’s allegations come at a time when Kerala will go to polls on April 6. 

In a television interview with Asianet News, Rajagopal also stated that the main opponent of these parties has been the Communist Party of India (Marxist)  -- CPI(M) -- and that the BJP has not made any tie-ups with the CPI(M). Rajagopal also said that this ‘alliance’ has even been revealed in the past, with many calling it ‘CoLeBi’ or ’Kolibi’, an acronym for Congress-League-BJP. 

The CPI(M) is likely to use Rajagopal’s statement to campaign against its rival, UDF. The party had earlier also alleged that the Congress and the BJP were in a clandestine alliance. 

Incidentally, there have been several reports of the informal alliance between the three parties, which was reportedly formed during the 1991 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections to defeat the CPI(M). The Beypore Assembly constituency and the Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency are the strongholds of the CPI(M). 

In what was considered to be a political experiment, the Congress and the IUML backed independent candidates late K Madhavankutty in Beypore and M Ratna Singh in Vadakara, reportedly, with the support of the BJP, in order to barrel into the CPI(M) bastions. The political experiment, however, failed, reportedly leaving both the Congress and the BJP embarrassed. Ratna Singh, too, had spoken about the ‘Kolibi’ experiment in a Times of India interview. 

According to O Rajagopal, “If we are getting support from another party where we cannot contest, we will make such adjustments. Isn’t that business? Isn’t that how politics works?” However, the other party should also feel that this adjustment will be advantageous for them.” 

Such ‘adjustments’, he said, happens at the local-level after the approval from the state leadership and with their full knowledge. “Such local-level understandings have been made in the past. The BJP has also been able to raise its vote share during such elections,” Rajagopal told Asianet News.

The BJP leader even said that such ‘adjustments’ were made in Ottapalam and Manjeswaram. 

The MLA also said that if such an option for ‘adjustment’ comes up in this election, it can be looked into. “We are not losing our credibility and what we stand for. There is nothing wrong in such tie-ups,” he added.

Kerala's CPI(M) Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has in the past slammed the Congress, stating that they have a clandestine pact with the BJP. In December 2020, during the local body polls, Pinarayi Vijayan said that the UDF has tied-up with the BJP at the local level. “One cannot hear the Congress or the IUML criticising the BJP.  There is an understanding between them,” CM Pinarayi had alleged. He had also added that the Left Democratic Front (LDF) will never join hands with communal forces.

Watch: O Rajagopal's interview with Asianet News

Last month, the Chief Minister had also alleged that the difference between the BJP and the Congress was narrowing down, referring to Congress leaders in the state making donations for the construction of Ram Mandir.

Also read: A status check on LDF govt's 2016 infrastructure promises for Kerala

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