Palakkad: Soon after the declaration of local body poll results in Kerala, Palakkad town has become the scene of a brazen tit-for-tat ideological posturing by the BJP and the youth wing of the CPM.
It all began with jubilant BJP activists hoisting atop the municipality office a giant banner featuring the image of Lord Ram along with the party's popular war cry 'Jai Sri Ram'. Another banner adjacent to it featured the pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Police took offence and booked a few BJP activists and soon the incident hit the headlines nationwide as the video of the banner-hoisting spread online.
Not to be left behind, the activists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India or DYFI hung the national flag on the municipality building in exactly the same place where the BJP workers had put up the 'Jai Sri Ram' banner on the day votes were counted.
The DYFI leaders stated it displayed the national flag in protest against the BJP's attempt to give a communal colour to the latter's victory in the civic polls.
Meanwhile, Youth Congress and KSU workers who organized a march carrying a national flag as part of their "defend constitution march" were chased away by the police in the town on Friday.
Palakkad Municipality has a special place for BJP in Kerala. In late 2015 the voters of this town in north Kerala handed the BJP the maiden mandate to run a civic body and a party candidate became the the municipal chairperson. In the latest civic polls too BJP retained power in the municipality.
For aeons 'Jai Sri Ram', meaning 'Glory to Lord Rama' or 'Victory to Lord Rama' has been a popular phrase used by devout Hindus to greet each other. However, it took on political and communal colour with the growth of the Hindutva movement that aided BJP's dramatic growth since the late 1980s.