The fight for the Vadakara assembly constituency is hogging the political limelight in Kerala after Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) leader KK Rema filed her nomination papers with the unconditional support of the United Democratic Front (UDF).
Rema’s husband and RMPI founder TP Chandrasekharan was hacked to death by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers in 2012.
Rema is taking on Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader and Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate Manayath Chandran.
A staunch critic of CPM and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Rema says she is fighting the poll to end the misrule of the LDF government. “Corruption and nepotism are the hallmarks of the Pinarayi government. He should not come back to power,” she said in an interview with Onmanorama, in which she delves into her decision to contest the poll, the issues she will raise in the campaign, her views on Pinarayi’s effort to end political violence, accusation that CPM has entered into a deal with BJP and her winning chances.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Reports suggested that you were reluctant to contest the assembly election this time. But you have changed your mind and filed your nomination from the Vadakara constituency. What was the reason for the change in your stand?
You are right, I had decided to stay away from electoral politics. But I changed my stand because I realised that contesting an election is just an extension of my fight against political violence, inequality, corruption and nepotism.
My party - the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) that was formed by TP Chandrasekharan in 2008 - envisages alternate politics. Chandrasekharan was hacked to death by CPM men in 2012. I consider this election an opportunity to take RMPI’s politics to Kerala’s assembly.
Vadakara is considered to be a socialist seat. After CPI’s MK Kelu’s victory in 1957, only leaders with socialist background were elected from the constituency. Can you rewrite history?
I am confident of a win from Vadakara. People of the constituency know me and my politics. They want a change and I can fulfil their dreams.
What are your campaign issues?
Vadakara’s development and the misrule by the Pinarayi Vijayan’s government are the major campaign issues. I will address people’s concerns about agriculture, education and tourism in Vadakara. I will also address the issues faced by people on the coast.
I will highlight the corruption and nepotism that were the hallmarks of Pinarayi's government.
Corruption is rampant in Kerala. Backdoor employment has become the norm of the day and common people are sidelined. Are they representing the proletariats?
A mother, whose two girl children were raped and murdered in Walayar, is crying for justice. Pinarayi’s police killed eight persons in fake encounters accusing them of Maoists. So this government should not come back to power.
The CPM appears to be taking you lightly. When asked about your candidature in Vadakara, Pinarayi Vijayan himself said you had contested in the previous election too. How do you view this?
Pinarayi Vijayan will realise who TP Chandrashekharan was when the votes are counted on May 2. Voters in Vadakara will give a fitting reply to him and his party.
Pinarayi is a dictator. He doesn’t tolerate dissenting voices in the party and government. I would like to use the term ‘Pinarayism’ to describe his behaviour. He thinks that he can continue to rule Kerala with his arrogance. He is worse than infamous dictators like Hitler and Mussolini.
But Pinarayi reportedly took initiatives to end political violence in Kerala. Isn't it a commendable effort?
I have heard about the secret parleys CPM had with RSS to end political violence. Why did they keep it a secret? I think such initiatives should be made public. CPM leaders should declare that violence is no longer in their scheme of things and take the deal forward. How can we expect honesty in secretive deals?
RMP has been bearing the brunt of CPM violence ever since its formation in 2008. CPM goons killed RMP’s founder TP Chandrasekharan. Our party workers were attacked brutally. We sacrificed a lot to continue our political activism. CPM continues to target us. No CPM leader took the initiative to end this violence. Does this mean that CPM wants to mend ways only with the RSS?
A top RSS leader recently alleged that CPM and BJP are in a secret pact for the assembly poll. How do you view this allegation?
This is just one example of the moral turpitude of the CPM leadership. The party will go to any length to grab power. This power-hungriness is the reason behind statements such as dialectical materialism is not relevant in the country. The party has surrendered to capitalist forces.
You also profess Marxism, but you are contesting the election with the Congress-led United Democratic Front. How do you justify your stand?
RMPI is not part of the UDF. They offered us unconditional support. This is not a political alignment. So we have no worries about it. Moreover, it is not a secret deal either.
We believe that all democratic and secular forces should come together to fight CPM’s political fascism.
But your critics have already raised it as an issue...
CPM has no moral or political right to raise such an allegation because it is contesting elections in other states with the support of Congress and other right-leaning organisations.
Will TP Chandrashekaharan’s murder be an election issue?
Nine years have passed since TP Chandrasekharan’s murder. Not a single day has passed in Kerala without discussing the gruesome murder. This means that the wound has not healed so far. We will raise the murder during the election campaign.