Now, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, too, has confirmed 'yoga guru' Sri M's leadership role in initiating peace talks between the RSS and the CPM in 2016, after the CPM came to power.
Earlier, party's central committee member M V Govindan Master had spurned such reports. “It is extreme Muslim outfits like Jamaat-e-Islami that have no idea about Sri M that spread such stuff,” Govindan said. But soon after Govindan's denial came P Jayarajan's affirmation. The CPM's former Kannur district secretary said that RSS-CPM talks were held under Sri M's mediation. He said the discussion was held after the RSS informed Sri M that it did not want the attacks to continue.
On Thursday, while interacting with the press at the AKG Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, the chief minister said it was true that Sri M was part of the conciliatory talks held between the RSS and the CPM. He said he was obliged as the chief minister to back moves that could end political violence in the state.
“M had taken the initiative. I asked him if it was practical. He said he would talk to both the parties,” Pinarayi said. The RSS-CPM talks were first revealed in the book 'The RSS and the Making of the Deep Nation' by journalist Dinesh Narayanan.
The book also has mention of the initial scepticism that both the chief minister and the RSS leaders had about the talks. "A few weeks before, M had broached the subject of peace talks to Chief Minister Vijayan mentioning that he knew RSS leaders well and if he would be interested. 'Will they listen?' Vijayan had asked. Incidentally, that is exactly what the RSS leaders in Kerala later said about the CPI(M). Kerala state secretary P Gopalankutty's first response to M's proposal was: "We know about you and your spiritual standing. But will the communists agree?"
The book says that M secured the blessings of RSS Sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat. Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, as if to justify his acceptance of Sri M's proposal, said that for him Sri M had always been a "secular sannyasin". "We knew he was not a spokesperson for any divisive or bigoted thinking," the chief minister said.
Dinesh Narayan's book says the meeting, conducted right after Vijayan took over as chief minister, was kept top secret, and held in the night in a luxury hotel in Thiruvananthapuram. RSS leaders - state secretary Gopalankutty Master, vibhag prachar pramukh Valsan Thillenkeri, Janmabhoomi managing director M Radhakrishnan and former prant pracharak S Sethumadhavan - were the first to arrive for the meeting. "Later in the night, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan walked in, alone. He had arrived at the hotel without any police escort. The top-secret meeting would have been stillborn if news leaked. Both parties kept their word."
The talks would have failed had it not been for M's presence and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statesmanship. Here is how the book describes the highly fraught start. "As the talks began, one of the RSS leaders (Gopalankutty Master) let loose a tirade on the atrocities of the party (CPM). Vijayan sat quietly, occasionally casting a glance at M. After a few minutes, M interjected and urged him to patiently listen to what Vijayan had to say. Vijayan said quietly, 'I've not come here to wash past linen. I'm interested in ending this violence'. It broke the ice." Later, talks were held in Kannur with RSS leaders and P Jayarajan.
The chief minister on Thursday said the talks were not held to forge a political pact. “These were discussions held to protect the lives of people. In fact, the suggestion of bilateral talks came up during the all-party meet held in Kannur,” Vijayan said.
He said these talks were not secret either. "These talks were mentioned in the Assembly also. We have never gone for any talks covering our faces,” the chief minister said.
Pinarayi further said such secret talks with RSS were actually held by the Congress, way back in 1989. He said the very same book had a mention of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's representative Bhanu Pratap Singh meeting Balasaheb Deoras, the then Sarsanghchalak of the RSS, assuring him that 'shilanyas' would be held in Ayodhya. “In return, the book says Rajiv Gandhi had asked for RSS support in the Lok Sabha polls,” Vijayan said.