Pinarayi bashing and an obit come haunting CPM probables ahead of LS poll run-up

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Kochi: Gone are the days when politicians could take refuge in the bitter fact that public memory is short. Thanks to social media, what they say in public, and at times in private too, are recorded and archived almost everyday. And the words come back haunting them at every possible opportunity, especially so at the face of elections.

Two probable CPM candidates have already started facing the social media heat with the rival Congress supporters digging out a speech and a condolence message which put them in a spot.

While popular CPM leader and former Health Minister K K Shailaja is being targetted for a condolence message she wrote after the death of her party colleague P K Kunjananthan, a not-so-old Pinarayi Vijayan bashing has brought trouble for new CPM entrant and Mulsim League dissident K S Hamza.

Shailaja and Hamza are among the probable candidates listed by the CPM state committee for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

A video clip of Hamza making a scathing attack on Chief Minister Vijayan started doing the rounds on social media soon after media reports said he is being considered as the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in Ponnani. Hamza became a CPM pet after he was expelled from the League in March 2023 following a rift with senior leader P K Kunhalikutty. Muslim League is the most prominent ally of the Congress in Kerala.

In the video clip, Hamza is seen addressing a protest march oragnised by the Congress-led united Democratic Front (UDF) in the wake of the infamous gold smuggling scam in which CM Vijayan’s office had come under the shadow of suspicion. The CM’s principal secretary M Sivasankar was arrested in the case. “This is the beginning of a series of protests to push Pinarayi Vijayan out of the chief minister’s office for he made the administrative headquarters of Kerala a centre of international smuggling,” Hamza says in the video. He can also be heard saying Vijayan embarrassed the people of Kerala like nobody did in the past.

In Shailaja’s case, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) vice president V T Balram kickstarted what can be termed a dig-out campaign as he reposted a 2020 Facebook post the CPM leader posted following the death of P K Kunjananthan, her party’s Panoor area committee member who was convicted in the the T P Chandrasekharan murder case. Balram found a context in the recent high court verdict upholding Kunjananthan’s conviction.

Shailaja, in her condolence note, had said Kunjananthan’s death was an irreparable loss for the CPM and the people of Panoor.

Balram was harsh in his criticism of Shailaja who is most likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Vadakara constituency. "This is the heart-melting note wrote by a prominent kind-hearted person when a prominent criminal, who was found guilty of murder even by the high court, died. Before such people come to you with make-up applied by PR workers, please remember this. The blood stains of T P Chandrasekharan, a communist, is in the hands of not only some hired killers, but also on the hands of all those who keep defending Kunjananthans," the former Thrithala MLA wrote on Facebook. Balram oversees Congress’ digital media activities in the state.

A source in the Congress social media camp said the ongoing trolls were not part of an organised campaign.

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