It is the season of yatras in Kerala that is soon heading to the polls.
Led by party politbureau member Pinarayi Vijayan, the CPI(M)’s 'Nava Kerala March' began at Uppala near Manjeswaran in Kasargode and will cover all 140 assembly segments in the state raising the slogan of 'secular, corruption free and developed Kerala'.
The party hit out at the BJP-led government in Centre and the Congress-led UDF in the state as it launched its election campaign for the Assembly polls due later this year.
The march was flagged off by former party general secretary Prakash Karat.
Speaking on the occasion, Karat alleged that the Modi government was pursuing a communal agenda and said Hindutva forces were attempting to treat minorities in the country as second class citizens.
"Modi government boasts of tackling terrorism. But the attack on Pathankot IAF air base showed their competence in preventing terror strikes in the country," he said.
Sangh Parivar forces under the patronage of BJP government were dividing people on communal lines, he alleged. Karat termed the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government as the "most corrupt" in the history of Kerala.
Taking a dig at the 'Kerala Raksha Yatra' led by KPCC President V M Sudheeran, he said it has now turned out to be 'corruption raksha yatra'.
On the vigilance department's clean chit to former Finance Minister K M Mani in the bar bribery case, the CPI(M) leader accused the government of protecting Mani in the case. During the five year UDF rule, Kerala was taken backward and not forward, he alleged.
Karat also highlighted the crisis faced by rubber growers and workers attached to traditional industries such as cashew, coir and beedi. "We have seen how rubber farmers are suffering due to sharp fall in prices of rubber. Similarly, traditional industries are also facing crisis," he said.
CPI(M) veteran and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan were among those who spoke on the occasion.
The march assumes significance as Vijayan was widely being considered to be the party's Chief Ministerial candidate if LDF comes to power. It is scheduled to end at the state capital on February 14.