The CPI (M) is not a rival of the RSS, or so Kerala Prachar Pramukh Balakrishnan M believes. The RSS, says Balakrishnan, is not a party with a rivalry against anyone in India.
This seems a strange view considering that Kannur has seen a nearly constant wave of killings and counter-killings between CPI (M) workers on the one hand, and RSS and BJP workers on the other. With the BJP’s significant victory in UP, many experts are now looking to see how the BJP and the RSS turn their attention southwards, particularly towards Kerala, and what effects that will have in these states.
But the 50-year-old RSS man is firmly of the view that the fight between the CPM and RSS originates with the Left party’s ideology, which he says is against the nation. Provocation for nearly every case of violence, he insists has arisen from the CPI (M). Talking to The News Minute, he argues that the RSS has no rivalries in any other states where the CPI (M) is not dominant, that have resulted in the scale of violence visible in Kerala. "The RSS was not formed to nurture any rivalry. The CPI (M) is strong only in three states. In all other states, no issues have been reported related with the RSS,” he says.
He also argues that an examination of the history of the rivalry would demonstrate that it increased when the Left came to power. “Whenever the Left has been in power, the tension has been increased. It’s only that the leaders changed from EK Nayanar to VS Achuthanandan to Pinarayi Vijayan. The CPI (M) has had arms and manpower. When they have political power as well, it’s natural that violence would increase. If this continues the CPI (M) will be isolated as happened in Bengal,” he states.
However, alleges Balakrishnan, the current wave of political violence in Kerala is of a different nature from earlier episodes. "After Pinarayi Vijayan became the Chief Minister, the equation within the CPI (M) has changed. The factional feud inside the CPI (M) Kannur lobby has been aggravated after that. Prominent Kannur leader, P Jayarajan is now spearheading an engineering of violence to damage Pinarayi’s image," Balakrishnan alleges. “Most of the cases of violence at present have been reported from Dharmadam – Pinarayi Vijayan's constituency,” he says.
Balakrishnan lays the blame for the situation on Vijayan, who he says has failed to rise up to the status of Chief Minister, and continues to behave like a party man. "Whenever he has tried to rise to the level of a Chief Minister he has been a complete failure," he says.
Balakrishnan argues that the the CPI (M)’s intolerance towards the RSS is not new, and dates back to the 1960s. "RSS leader MS Golwalkar was attacked by them when he was speaking at a meeting in Thiruvananthapuram, during that period," he states. However, he argues, this ill-feeling has intensified of late because the CPI (M) is hostile to the fact that the RSS is strengthening its roots in villages that were earlier known as CPM 'party villages'. “The CPI (M) is afraid to admit the fact that the RSS is gaining strength in their citadels. They can’t approach it with a democratic view,” he said.
"The problem lies with the Communist ideology," he added. As for why the CPI (M) feels no need to lock horns with its major rival, the Congress, as it has with the RSS, Balakrishnan points to the established power equations between the Congress and the CPI (M). “The Congress was always confined to its pockets. They never tried to build up in CPI (M) party villages. So the CPM never feared that,” he argues.
As for the plans to strengthen the vote base for the BJP and to make Kerala the party’s next bastion, Balakrishnan argues that the RSS has never been involved in such work. “You should ask this question to leaders of the BJP. The RSS has interfered in electoral politics only during periods like the Emergency. We work for social causes. Our activities are not related to electoral politics."
On the bounty offered by RSS Ujjain Pramukh Chandrawat for Vijayan’s head, Balakrishnan counters that the national media and the people of India are informed enough to understand that the RSS disowns such statements. "It was born out of an emotional state of mind and everybody rejected that," he says.
Even as he refuses to respond to questions of growing a right-wing voter base, however, Balakrishnan points out that the RSS has over 5,000 shakhas (local units) in the state which is highest in the country in terms of the size and the population density of the state. This number, he predicts, will increase by at least five times in the next five or 10 years. “The RSS’s growth in the state will be identical with social and political change in the state.”