Karnataka BJP MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, who is known for fiery speeches that have often landed him in trouble, seems to have ignited yet another controversy at BJP’s state committee meet in Kerala on Tuesday.
Addressing party members in Kottayam in Kannada, MP Kateel said that if the CPI (M) in Kerala continues to attack the houses of BJP workers, the "BJP has the strength to catch and beat up the Communists in Karnataka."
Even as his statements were met with applause from the audience, Kerala BJP leader K Surendran, who played the role of translator, played down the statement. "If you attack the houses of BJP workers in Kerala, CPI (M) workers in Karnataka will have to run for their lives," Surendran chose to say instead.
He added that while the Communists could show their strength in Kerala, the BJP worker's strength could be seen in every corner of the country.
Kateel came down heavily on the CPI (M)-led LDF government in Kerala, for issues including its protest against demonetisation and political violence.
“A slew of attacks on RSS and BJP men in the state are the only achievements that Pinarayi Vijayan can lay claim to. If this continues, the central government can intervene and stop it by force," he said.
Lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's demonetisation move, Kateel said that the "surgical strike" against black money had also curbed terrorism and unrest in Kashmir. He criticised the Kerala government for holding protests against demonetisation, thereby supporting black money.
"Though we have been able to curb terrorism in the rest of the country, political killings continue to take place in Kerala,” he said. He accused Pinarayi Vijayan of allowing the killings of 10 people in seven months since he assumed office, and said that the people do not have any confidence in him. “In seven months, there have been 10 hartals… None of the welfare schemes of the central government are being properly implemented in Kerala," MP Nalin said.
Terming Pinarayi Vijayan's government as "jungle raj," Kateel also dubbed his government a "Tughlaq raj", mocking the CPI (M) leaders for earlier calling Modi a modern day Tughlaq.
"Jungle raj is taking place here. Bihar saw jungle raj when Lalu Prasad Yadav ruled and change came when Nitish Kumar became the CM. They (CPI (M)) are the people who criticized Oommen Chandy government terming it a jungle raj, but under Pinarayi, the state has become a Tughlaq raj," the MP said.
Kateel’s statements about “catching and beating Communists” are significant, since the BJP has itself attacked CPI (M) leaders for making inflammatory statements in the past. In July last year, CPI (M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan landed in trouble after he said that no political attacks (by BJP supporters) should go unanswered.
“If someone comes to attack us, they should not go back as they came," the Communist leader had said in Kannur, after the death of a CPI (M) worker following clashes with the BJP.
His statement was interpreted as an open call for retaliatory attacks and saw the BJP crying foul and demanding an enquiry into it. The state BJP leaders took the opportunity to attack the ruling party and went on to file a complaint with the DGP.
Kateel himself has a history of getting "carried away" during his political speeches. Earlier in January, speaking on the death of a BJP worker, he thundered that the Dakshina Kannada district would go up in fire if the murderers were not apprehended by the police within 10 days.