Strongly condemning attacks on its workers allegedly by CPI-M cadres in various parts of Kerala, BJP today demanded Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to take steps to stop the violence and bring "peace and amity".
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav, who spoke in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi respectively, said this kind of political violence cannot be tolerated and put the onus on Vijayan to stop it.
Inaugurating 'Janakeeya sadas', a gathering of BJP activists and their family members attacked in Pinarayi in Kannur district after the May 16 assembly poll results were out, Prasad said BJP believed in peace and non-violence.
Speaking at the event in Thiruvananthapuram, he said 11 crore workers of BJP across the country, from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the local level 'mandal karyakarthas', were solidly behind the people of Kerala and the party workers.
"Let me say very clearly, openly and categorically that 11 crore members of BJP are standing behind the people of Kerala and the BJP workers in the state. This kind of violence cannot be tolerated and it is unacceptable. BJP believes in peace, non-violence and in democracy," Prasad said.
In Kochi, Ram Madhav, talking to reporters, urged Vijayan to "control" his cadres, saying he has the constitutional duty to ensure law and order in the state.
All those who were not thinking in line with the CPI(M) were "victims" of the violence "perpetrated by its cadres", he said adding "our people have suffered enormously at the hands of the Marxist terror and Marxist violence."
Apparently faulting the Chief Minister for not taking action to check violence, Prasad said "Mr Pinarayi, I would like to appeal to you...this kind of violence cannot be accepted. Police is with you now. It must be stopped."
Referring to the post-poll attacks on party workers, Prasad said BJP had got every right to work anywhere in the country, including in Kerala.
"Why I am saying that BJP has got every right to grow in Kerala? Today if we have got 15 per cent of votes and we got one leader elected (in assembly polls), the opening has been made. And the future of Kerala belongs to BJP," he said.
He said such kinds of attacks and political violence would give a bad image to the country "which is going great" under the leadership of Modi.
"Today, India's image is different all over the world because of the initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Wherever he goes, be in the US, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or in Afghanistan, all countries are in cooperation with India to speak against terrorism," Prasad said.
"What kind of image would go to the world? On the one hand India is gaining new heights under the leadership of Modi, but at the same time, in Kerala, people were being attacked just because they are BJP workers," he said.
Prasad reminded Vijayan that BJP was in power in nine states and along with its NDA partners in a total of 14 states but in none of these states any of the Communist party worker was attacked by BJP.
"Have we attacked any single CPI(M) worker there? Have we stopped any CPI(M) leader from campaigning there? Why? Because we respect the democratic rights of everyone to campaign," he said.
Taking a dig at Left, he said in all the states, where BJP is ruling, "CPI and CPI(M) are going down, down and down and BJP is going up, up and up."
He also attacked Congress, saying it had lost power in the Centre and also in Assam and Kerala recently due to corruption.
On the other hand, the two-year-old NDA government under Modi was completely corrupt-free and all decisions were taken in a "fair, transparent and justifiable" manner, he said.
On NDA's priority, he said "we want the entire country to be developed. And we also want Kerala also to be developed."
Ram Madhav, flanked by Union ministers Suresh Prabhu and Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, said there had been no respite in violence "unleashed by the Marxist cadres" in the state even after the polls.
"We want the Chief Minister of the state to control his cadres. I don't want to use bad words for them. But he has the constitutional duty to control his party cadres' violence on the street, he has to maintain law and order in the state," he said in response to a query.
Noting that BJP together with its partners have secured "15 per cent of popular vote" in the state, he said, "we want the government to behave responsibly, control their cadres, not allow violence to spread in the state."
The BJP General Secretary also said BJP could not be cowed down by the violent political tactics.
"We want to play constructive politics in the state. Let us have ideological politics...welcome...we don't agree with your ideology, you may have issues with our ideology. But you can't promote violence as the means to attack the political adversaries. And mark my words...BJP cannot be cowed down by these kind of political violent tactics," he said.
Clashes between CPI(M) and BJP workers had occurred in many parts of Kerala, particularly in Kannur district, in the past and after the May 16 assembly election results in which CPI(M)-led LDF came to power.