Grey old men sitting around a table, reliving their C-Class hero antics in college, can be interesting, even thrilling.
Not when the old men who boast of what they did to each other in college are the two most powerful men in Kerala - Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the newly-appointed Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president K Sudhakaran. Their puerile claims and counter claims could signal the depths to which Kerala politics is about to fall.
It was Sudhakaran who first went down memory lane and discovered his young macho self. In an interview after he took over as KPCC chief, Sudhakaran said that he had knocked down Pinarayi Vijayan in one kick during a political fight inside Brennan College in Kannur.
"He rushed out of the class where he was writing an exam and came running to the aid of his comrades, including A K Balan (former minister). On seeing me, he asked 'Who the hell are you? Dara Singh?". I was learning 'kalari' at that time. Students standing on either side of me were shouting. I didn't think twice. I gave him one big kick. Following this, KSU students surrounded Pinarayi and beat him to pulp. Finally the police had to come and carry him off," Sudhakaran had said.
Pinarayi Vijayan laughed when he was asked about this. "All this is just his fantasy. He might have wanted to do many things to me. He would have also dreamed of doing all this to me," the chief minister said while interacting with the media on Friday.
Pinarayi said he had indeed gone to the college that day, and also that there was an exam going on. "But we had called for a class boycott. So, though I went to the college, I did not sit for the exams," he said. He said that the KSU students were trying to undermine the KSF (the then version of SFI) boycott. "I found that things were getting out of control. This Sudhakaran was also in the crowd. But I was particular that I should not get involved in the fight as I had already passed out of the college and had only some exams to take," Pinarayi said.
So, he said he intervened in such a way that he would not find himself fully involved in the fracas. "I looked at this young man (Sudhakaran) and made a special kind of gesture. I clapped my hands together," Pinarayi said and imitated the gesture in a soft way. "Not in this mild way but in a manner that created a loud terrifying sound. And to go with it, I hurled at him some expletives. A student leader from his side, a friend of mine, suddenly came over and pleaded with me not to do anything. 'Who is this guy. Take him away," I told the crowd. He was taken away," Pinarayi said.
The chief minister wanted Sudhakran to know that he was then spared only because he did not want to get involved in a fight inside the college. "Good for him if he remembers that," Pinarayi said.
Sudhakaran, in his interview, had also spoken about a KSU activist named Francis who always carried a dagger in his waist. Sudhakaran said that this Francis had once jumped on a stage where Pinarayi was speaking and attacked him with the dagger. "He managed to evade Francis's dagger but me and other KSU students jumped on the stage and forced Pinarayi to flee the place," Sudhakaran said.
Pinarayi said that this dagger-carrying Francis had never been in Brennan College when he was there. "There were many who wanted to come near my body. But no one had ever dared to," Pinarayi said.
He then quoted from the comments of other Congress leaders like P Ramakrishnan and Mambaram Divakaran to call him corrupt, rascal, murderer and even a kidnapper. He said Ramakrishnan had said that Sudhakran had entered politics just to make money. He had said Sudhakaran had direct dealings with the sand mafia and the blade mafia and was not fit for politics. Pinarayi also said that Sudhakran had pocketed all the money he had collected in the name of party workers and for the construction of the party office in Kannur.
Pinarayi also said that a former Congress leader, who is now dead, had once revealed to him that Sudhakran had plans to kidnap his two children.
Meanwhile, the Congress chief, while talking to Manorama News, said he will meet mediapersons Saturday morning and reply to the chief minister's statement in detail.