INDIA ‘allies’ Rahul Gandhi, Pinarayi Vijayan are at each other’s throats in Kerala

Rahul Gandhi, a Member of Parliament contesting the Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Wayanad a second time, became a direct rival of the ruling Left front in the state after the Congress announced his candidature.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Written by:

The exchange of words, bordering on mudslinging, between Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan pinnacled over the last few days as they began using campaign platforms to question each other’s integrity. Rahul Gandhi, a Member of Parliament contesting the Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Wayanad a second time became a direct rival of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) leading the Left government in the state, after the Congress announced his candidature. While in the rest of the country, the Congress and the Left are allies of the INDIA bloc, fighting the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party of the Union government, in Kerala, Left and Congress parties have always been the biggest rivals. 

Campaigning for himself and the Congress in Kerala, Rahul, in one of his visits to the state on Thursday, April 18, questioned the lack of action by the BJP against the Chief Minister of Kerala, when other CMs were being attacked and put in jail. “My question is why is the BJP not attacking the CM of Kerala, why are they not taking away his house or his chief ministership, why are they not putting court cases on him or getting him interrogated by the ED (Enforcement Directorate, a Union government agency). After all, two CMs are in jail today,” Rahul said, referring to Delhi CM Arvind Kerjriwal belonging to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the former CM of Jharkhand Hemant Soren.

Rahul insinuated an understanding between the BJP and the Communist Chief Minister with his statement, since the attacks by the Union government have been on non-BJP ruled states.

Pinarayi Vijayan, in a reply speech the next day, retorted that Rahul’s grandmother [Indira Gandhi] who ruled over the country once upon a time had put several people like him in jail [during the Emergency] and that he was not afraid of jail. “So if we hear about jail, we will not be afraid like Ashok Chavan,” CM Pinarayi said about the former Congress leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister who defected to the BJP, amid allegations that a corruption case had prompted his decision.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi and Annie Raja, allies fighting BJP nationally, are rivals in Kerala

Rahul Gandhi asked why, when the BJP was destroying the Constitution, attacking democracy and dividing the country, the CM of Kerala was attacking him all the time. “I am very happy for him to attack me (sic). But he should also spend a little bit of time attacking the BJP and Mr Modi and RSS.”

Congress leaders in Kerala, including Rajya Sabha member KC Venugopal and leader of Opposition in the Assembly VD Satheesan, have been questioning Pinarayi’s intent in attacking Rahul Gandhi when elsewhere in India, leaders of other Opposition parties were supporting him. Karnataka Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, who came for a campaign rally in Alappuzha, said: “While the BJP government is targeting Opposition leaders, there is no action being taken against Pinarayi Vijayan and his family.”

He further alleged that there is an unholy nexus between the LDF and the BJP. “Any votes cast for the LDF in Kerala are essentially for the BJP,” he said. 

Pinarayi Vijayan said it was ironic that the Congress should say this when so many from the party were jumping ship to the BJP. The Left has been critical of Modi’s problematic policies and does not need the certificate of the Congress to prove this, he added. 

Weeks before, Pinarayi Vijayan came out strongly against Rahul Gandhi’s candidature in Wayanad, where he will be fighting the Left, an ally in the INDIA alliance, instead of the BJP. He was also critical of Rahul’s campaign in Wayanad when flags of the Congress and its ally the Muslim League were not used, apparently, after a fake propaganda was spread by rightwing elements last time that the Muslim League flag was Pakistan’s. The CM has also been questioning Rahul’s silence on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) brought on by the BJP.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute