Shashi Tharoor complains of CPI dividing anti-BJP votes, D Raja condemns statement

The Congress and the Left parties are part of the INDIA bloc fighting the BJP in the general election, but they have always been rivals in Kerala, which has never elected a Sangh Parivar parliamentarian.
Shashi Tharoor
Shashi TharoorTwitter
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A day after Shashi Tharoor posed for a photo shaking hands with Pannian Ravindran, one of his rivals in the Lok Sabha elections, he took a dig at the latter's party for fielding a candidate at all in Thiruvananthapuram, the constituency he has kept for the past 15 years. Their respective parties -- the Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) -- are part of the INDIA alliance formed by 26 political parties to oppose the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been ruling India for a decade. But while the two parties propose to fight the BJP in the rest of the country, in Kerala they are the main rivals, where the contest has historically been between the Communists-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front. 

"It’s ironic that the same @cpofindia that complains about @RahulGandhi’s candidature in Wayanad is playing the BJP’s game in Thiruvananthapuram. The only effect of the CPI’s campaign against me in Thiruvananthapuram is to divide the anti-BJP vote. And they preach alliance dharma in Wayanad!" Shashi Tharoor tweeted on the morning of Tuesday, March 19, amid busy hours of campaigning. 

Congress big shot Rahul Gandhi is once again contesting from Wayanad, the constituency he stood and won from in the last general election, embittering the Left parties governing the state and leading them to question who the Congress was fighting, the Communists or the BJP. The same question arose this time when not just Rahul Gandhi, but another powerful figure of the party, KC Venugopal, also stepped into the race, contesting from Alappuzha. 

Shashi Tharoor brought up the Wayanad question in an attempt to turn tables and ask the Left parties if they were not doing the same in effect, when they fought him in the election, and divided the votes that came against the BJP.

CPI leader D Raja condemned Tharoor's statement and questioned his sense of history and the Indian communist movement. "He should look at his face in the mirror [and ask] why Congress people are leaving the party and joining the BJP," he said, referring to a few recent deflections like that of the daughter of veteran Congress leader K Karunakaran, Padmaja Venugopal, and before that, of Anil Antony, the son of another Congress veteran AK Antony. 

Raja further said that the Left parties could also ask the same question, why Tharoor should stand against them, or why Rahul Gandhi, who conducted two yatras across India (Bharat Jodo Yatra and Nyay Yatra) against the communal fascist forces of the country, was contesting against the Left candidates in Kerala. 

Earlier in the day, CPI's state secretary Binoy Viswam, after a tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his continuous visits to Kerala while turning a blind eye to the conflict-zones in Manipur, also questioned the candidacy of Rahul Gandhi. Who is the main enemy of the Congress in this contest, he asked, the RSS-BJP or the Left. He lamented that the Congress was not dealing with seat sharing properly in the INDIA bloc. "Even in the areas where the Left has an influence they are unwilling to share seats with us," he said.

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