The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M] is getting a taste of its own medicine and a bitter one at that, too.
The CPI(M), which tried to take a potshot at Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala, by linking him to the RSS, is in a soup.
At the centre of the controversy is none other than CPI(M) politburo member and senior leader S Ramachandran Pillai, popularly known as SRP.
SRP had recently admitted the allegation in Congress mouthpiece ‘Veekshanam’ and BJP mouthpiece ‘Janmabhumi' that he had started his political life in the RSS.
The issue started with CPI(M) state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s statement on July 24 that Ramesh Chennithala was a leader ‘close to the RSS.’ Kodiyeri Balakrishnan made the statement after a state secretariat meeting of the CPI(M). He followed it up with a write-up in party mouthpiece ‘Desabhimani.’
The Janmabhumi article stated that SRP, during his high-school days, was the ‘Sikshak’ in charge of the Pullikkanakku ‘sakha’ (branch) of the RSS in Krishnapuram panchayat of Kayamkulam. The article went on to say that SRP was also part of RSS’s ‘pravarthana sibiram,’ an organisational meeting.
‘Veekshanam’ came out with the criticism that the party was obliterating the RSS link of its own politburo member while making allegations against Ramesh Chennithala. It criticised ‘Desabhimani’ for its double standards and publishing an article stating that the Leader of Opposition’s father, Ramakrishnan Nair, had RSS links.
SRP’s admission came as the three newspapers were in the midst of a spirited war of words. Political observers say the Congress and the CPI(M) have been hurling the RSS connect allegation on one another with an eye on the minority vote bank.
The CPI(M) is now worried that it may have to explain and even justify its stand in debates and political discussions, especially as the elections are nearing.
The Leader of the Opposition clarified that he had nothing new to say on the CPI(M) state secretary’s statements.
Here is exactly what each leader said:
Kodiyeri Balakrishnan: “Ramesh Chennithala is one who wears the RSS hat more than anyone. He is the RSS ‘sar sangh chalak’ in the Congress.”
S Ramachandran Pillai: “I was in the RSS till 15 years of age. I joined the Left after realising that broad multilateralism was better than narrow nationalism. I became a Communist party member at 18. People of various ideologies are part of the party and that is a sign of its strength.”
Ramesh Chennithala: “Kodiyeri Balakrishnan should understand that I need not prove anything after being in public life for 40 years.”