CAA takes centrestage in Kerala as CPI-M and Congress spar on the issue, BJP seeks to attack their 'hypocrisy'

Thiruvananthapuram, April 7 (IANS) Weeks before the single-phase polling to Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha seats, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues to take centre stage in the election campaign of the state’s two traditional political rivals – who are part of the INDIA bloc at the national level but fierce competitors in the state.

A reason why the CAA is now one of the most discussed and debated poll issues between the ruling CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front is the state has nearly 24 per cent Muslims in its over 3.30 crore population.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took up the issue right after the CAA was passed by the Parliament in 2019, asserting that it would not be implemented in Kerala. On the last day of 2019, his government, with the support of the Congress-led opposition, got a resolution demanding the scrapping of the provision passed nearly unanimously by the Assembly, with the lone BJP legislator O. Rajagopal being the only one opposing it.

Since then, the issue was lying dormant but regained focus with the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, and Vijayan again used it to attack the Congress.

The Chief Minister has been consistently slamming the Congress’ national leadership in general and Rahul Gandhi, who is an MP from the state, in particular over their “silence” on the CAA.

But when he claimed that the issue was also missing in Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, the state leadership of the Congress, including the Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan and veteran legislator Ramesh Chennithala, hit back at him, alleging that he was shedding crocodile tears and pleasing the BJP leadership by attacking Rahul Gandhi.

However, Vijayan is refusing to abandon the issue, noting in the election campaign that right from 2019 when this issue first surfaced, the Left, inside and outside the Parliament, had strongly come out against it but the Congress “played hide and seek”, showing some inclination for a joint protest, but backing out later.

His tirades intensified when the Congress manifesto came out and he pointed out that while his CPI-M’s manifesto is clear that the CAA will be repealed, the Congress is still “silent” on it.

“Just look at the Congress manifesto, there is total silence on what they will do if they come to power with regards to the CAA. Is it not clear that they are hand in glove with the BJP with regards to the CAA,” he claimed.

But the Congress is hitting back at Vijayan, with acting state Congress President M.M. Hassan accusing the Chief Minister of attacking Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to keep Prime Minister Narendra Modi “happy” as he has grave cases against him and his family.

Hassan also said that Vijayan is “engaged in spreading lies” against Rahul Gandhi, but the truth is that the Congress leader has 18 cases in various states because he protested and spoke against the CAA.

The BJP, starting from PM Modi to the grassroots party workers, is also seeking to capitalise on the issue, accusing the two fronts of hypocrisy by being part of the INDIA bloc but fighting in Kerala.

State BJP President K. Surendran contended that times have changed and the people of Kerala have now understood that the CPI-M and Congress are two sides of the same coin and both these parties have just one agenda of garnering the Muslim votes and will go to any extent for this.

“They hug in Delhi and they fight in Kerala. This tactic will not work anymore,” he said.



Back to top button