A Kerala MLA from the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has landed in hot water after he inaugurated an event hosted by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Facing the heat is Irinjalakkuda MLA Arunanan, who participated in an event held in commemoration of the first death anniversary of an RSS pracharak in Oorakam in Thrissur district on Tuesday.
The incident might have passed unnoticed, if not for Congress MLA VT Balram, who took a dig at the Communist politician. On Wednesday morning, the Thrithala MLA took to Facebook to share a photograph of MLA Arunan, with a hashtag that loosely translates to: "CPI (M) during the day... RSS during the day itself."
However, MLA Arunanan claims to be a staunch Communist, and insists that he was "completely and deliberately misled" and "tricked" into attending the event.
The MLA told TNM, "I had no idea that the event was organised by the RSS. If I knew, would I have gone? I was told that it was an event hosted by a temple committee and I was invited to distribute books to children from a local library."
(All photographs from Facebook)
Arunanan also says that he was only invited for the event via telephone for the book-distribution event. He adds that he possesses a notice that he had received in advance of the event, which gave no indication that it was organised by the the right-wing organisation.
The MLA says that he realised the truth of the situation five minutes after he entered the event, but stayed because he also saw a Congress leader presiding over it.
"When I looked around, everything was orange. I saw the banner that said RSS. Everything including the floor mat gave indications that it was an RSS event. However, I also saw that local Congress leader Thomas Thattapally was presiding over the programme. So, I lit the lamp like they instructed me, distributed the books, and hurriedly left the venue," MLA Arunanan says.
He maintains that many senior party members who reached out to him after the controversy broke out, have accepted his version in confidence.
However, the party unit told TNM that it views the matter with utmost seriousness. CPI (M) Thrissur district secretary K Radhakrishnan said that the party has sought an explanation from the MLA for his behaviour.
"While it is definitely unpardonable for a CPI (M) member to have taken part in an RSS event, we have got primary reports that our MLA was misled. He was cheated and made part of the event. It is learnt that a Congress member was also part of the event. We have, however, asked the MLA for an explanation and have directed the local party unit to report on the matter. If proven otherwise, the party will decide the future course of action," Radhakrishnan said.