The difference of opinion between the CPI-M and CPI, the two principal parties in Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), over an anti-encroachment drive in Munnar intensified on Monday with top leaders of the two parties taking pot shots at each other.
Relations between the two parties first hit a road block last month when revenue officials along with armed policemen in the wee hours removed a cross belonging to a new generation Church - Spirit in Jesus - placed on a hill top near Munnar.
However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan criticised the manner in which the cross was pulled out. He warned state government officials to behave and expressed deep anguish at the manner in which the cross was pulled out.
When it surfaced that Vijayan was attacking the officials, Christian bishops and Church leadership who during the day had remained silent, started to condemn the act.
The CPI leadership was irked by Vijayan's action. They came out in the open and said the action was taken after following due process as required by law.
Vijayan, unhappy with the CPI, on Monday again raked up the issue and said there was a conspiracy behind the pulling down of the cross.
This was criticised by the CPI leadership.
State Revenue Minister and CPI leader E. Chandrasekheran said he is "helpless" to unravel the so-called conspiracy.
"The portfolios that I have is not enough to probe the conspiracy. Those who have that portfolio can freely conduct a probe to find out if there was a conspiracy," said Chandrasekheran to the media, referring to the Home portfolio.
The Home portfolio is being handled by Vijayan.
CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran then said the cross that was pulled out belonged to the "thief who was hanged along with Jesus Christ", referring to the Bible.
"The cross that was pulled out should not be mistaken as that of the pain and sufferings, instead it belonged to the thief. The CPI always has stood for righteousness," said Rajendran at a public meeting on Monday.
Hitting back at the CPI, State Power Minister and CPI-M leader M.M. Mani said the CPI should adhere to the basic tenets of decency in a coalition.
"We will not allow anyone to target our Chief Minister and none should become a tool in the hands of the enemy," Mani told a public meeting on Monday.
This difference of opinion comes as the state assembly resumes its new session on Tuesday