On a day when senior BJP functionary R Balashakar alleged that the CPM and the BJP had struck an underhand electoral deal, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan spoke of a “Kerala-level” deal between the BJP and the Congress “on a range of issues”. Pinarayi even wondered whether K Muraleedharan's high-profile candidature in Nemom was simply a ruse to help the BJP candidate win “like it happened in 2016”.
“We will know the truth of this (Murali's candidature in Nemom) only in the coming days,” the chief minister said during his sunset briefing on Tuesday. "The earlier experience was very painful. The Congress joined hands with the BJP to let the lotus bloom for the first time ever in Kerala," Pinarayi said.
"Where did the UDF votes go last time. In 2016, they did not even get the votes they polled in 2011," Pinarayi said. In 2011, too, the UDF candidate Charupara Ravi of Social Janata (Democratic) party was also third, but had secured 17.38 per cent of the votes. In 2016, V Surendran Pillai of Janata Dal (United) could mobilise just 9.70 per cent of the votes. 47,024 votes
According to him, 47,024 votes had leaked from the UDF to the BJP. “This is enough to demonstrate who is the strongest candidate in Nemom,” Pinarayi said. He gave the example of Nedumcaud ward within Nemom to further elaborate his charge of Congress-BJP collusion. In 2015, Pinarayi said the Congress had 1169 votes in the ward. In 2020, it dropped to just 74.
“The UDF joined hands with the BJP to destroy the secular image of Kerala,” Pinarayi said. He also wanted to know whether the Congress and the UDF were willing to apologise for what they had done.
Pinarayi said that the CPM alone took an uncompromising stand against communalism. As proof of the Congress-BJP understanding, he said that Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence at the national farmers' strike in Delhi, which had crossed 100 days. “But Left leaders are at the forefront of the struggle,” Pinarayi said.
He said the constant migration of Congress MLAs to the BJP had shattered the credibility of the Congress. “There were states in which the Congress was voted to power to keep the communal elements at bay. But after winning, we had seen these Congress MLAs allowing themselves to be purchased by the BJP,” he said.
He took Goa as an example. "Congress was the single largest party. They had the numbers to stake claim to form the government. But the winning Congress MLAs shifted to the BJP even before they could enter the Assembly. They gave the BJP the strength to form a government," he said. "It was not just in Goa. Such wholesale purchase of Congressmen happened in Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry. In Tripura, the Congress Legislative Party became the BJP," he added.
Pinarayi said the Congress leaders had made themselves into objects that could be purchased in the market for a high price. “And the BJP has mobilised enough money to purchase legislators at any cost,” he added.
Why should the people believe the Congress when they were waiting for the right moment to jump to the BJP, the chief minister asked. “None of the Congress-led governments in the country had tabled a law against the Citizenship Amendment Act brought by the Centre,” he said, offering yet another proof of a BJP-Congress understanding.
Nonetheless, Pinarayi brushed aside Balasankar's charge that the CPM had an electoral understanding with the BJP. Balasankar said that the BJP had fielded weak candidates in Chengannur and Aranmula so that the CPM would help K Surendran win in Konni. “He is not a person given to such loose talks,” Pinarayi said. “We don't need anyone's support to win,” he added.