Kochi: A young CPM MLA in Kerala's Ernakulam district found himself in an embarrassing situation on Monday as he had to withdraw a social media post which apparently targetted industrialist-politician Sabu M Jacob.
Kunnathunad MLA P V Sreenijin withdrew his Facebook post taunting Jacob, the managing director of textile major Kitex who also heads the Twenty20 political party, after the CPM leadership intervened, reports said.
The social media war between Sreenijin and Jacob happened a day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal announced an alliance with the Twenty20 amid the ongoing campaigning for the May 31 assembly bypoll. The ruling CPM and the opposition Congress are the main contenders in the bypoll and both the parties have sought the support of the Twenty20-AAP combine. The Twenty20 had polled 10 per cent of votes in the Thrikkakara constituency in the 2021 election.
Jacob is yet to announce his party's stance on the bypoll even as he keeps slamming the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) government on various issues, including its push for the SilverLine semi high-speed rail project and a series of political murders.
However, the CPM on Monday sought the support of the AAP-Twenty20 alliance. CPM state secretariat member M Swaraj made the request, saying the two parties could support the Left front only on ideological lines. Swaraj said the Left has been upholding people's welfare, as mooted by the People's Welfare Alliance, thr front launched by AAP and Twenty20.
In reply, Jacob said the CPM MLA Sreenijin should first apologise to Twenty20 before seeking its votes. Jacob had often alleged that Sreenijin's vendetta politics was behind a series of raids at his Kitex company.
Jacob demanded the LDF, which has been seeking Twenty20 votes, to admit to its mistakes, and rein in its MLA (Sreenijin) who has been verbally attacking his party.
“As many as 12 raids were conducted in the company within a month. However, nothing was found wrong in the raids. Those including the MLA who led the raids should publicly apologise. Otherwise, there is no point in seeking our votes,” Jacob said.
This left Sreenijin provoked and he took to Facebook to reply to Jacob.
The apparently 'innocuous' post requested a map (maappu in Malayalam means apology) of Kunnamkulam, a township in Thrissur district, to be forwarded to "one person".
The post was celebrated by CPM supporters, though it was short-lived. Sreenijin removed the post from Facebook after it grabbed headlines and apparently angered the CPM leadership which is leaving no stone unturned in its attempt to win the bypoll. A win in Thrikkakara, a Congress stronghold, will raise the Left front's tally to a solid 100 in the 140-member assembly.
Jacob reacted sharply to Sreenijin's act of deleting the post. “The one who sought Kunnamkulam's map has run for his life after I offered him a map of Thrikkakara,” Jacob said.
Sreenijin's post was reminiscent of a similar one by N Prashanth in 2016, former district collector of Kozhikode, who posted a map of Kunnamkulam in a word-play response to parliamentarian M K Raghavan's demand for a 'maappu' (apology) from the IAS official following a row over the administrative head's alleged refusal to release money from the MP's fund.
Prashanth's taunt itself was based on a 1994 Malayalam movie, "Manathe Kottaram," in which a character vents her anger over the absence of Kunnamkulam in the map of South America.
Earlier this month, Sreenijin had to delete another Facebook post seeking votes for CPM leader Arunkumar who was widely speculated to be the LDF candidate in Thrikkakara. However, the CPM, in a surprise move, announced cardiologist Dr Jo Joseph as its candidate even after party workers had started campaigning for Arunkumar. Joseph is facing Congress' Uma Thomas and BJP's A N Radhakrishnan in the bypoll.