Kozhikode: The CPM on Monday decided to take action against Kozhikode Mayor Beena Philip for participating in a programme organised by Balagokulam, affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The state leadership directed the district unit to take appropriate action against the mayor.
The district secretariat also termed the mayor's decision to attend the event a mistake and that it went against the stance of the party.
Beena Philip recently attended a mothers' meet organised by Balagokulam, putting her party on the back foot. The CPM has a proclaimed stance of staying away from any RSS-related event and the mayor's participation has given ammo to the opposition Congress' charge that the Marxist party and the BJP have a tacit understanding in the state.
Addressing the gathering, Philip criticised the way in which kids are brought up in Kerala. She also urged all mothers to be devotees of infant Krishna so that they would never scold their kids. “You should be able to look at all children as Little Krishna so that kids will also nurture love and devotion,” she said.
In her speech, Philip said child care in Kerala was not as good as that in north India.
"The low child mortality rate does not mean that child care is good. For that we need to learn to love our children like the north Indians," she had said in her speech yesterday.
She had said that Keralites are selfish over their own children and treat other children differently but in North India, every child is looked after equally.
After being caught on the wrong foot, Philip on Monday defended her participation, saying that she only went to attend a mothers' meet.
CPM denounces mayor's statement
The ruling CPM issued a statement denouncing the mayor and said her statement was completely unacceptable.
"The speech made by Kozhikode Corporation Mayor, Dr Beena Philip, while participating in an event by an organisation under the RSS, was not right. The mayor's stand on that particular issue is exactly the opposite of that of the party. CPM cannot accept this at all. The party has decided to publicly denounce the Mayor's stand," the party statement read.
"The Mayor's speech at the RSS function is unacceptable. It goes against the principles upheld by the CPM," CPM's Kozhikode District Secretary P Mohanan said.
Congress slams CPM
The Congress took the opportunity to slam the CPM. Leader of Opposition, V D Satheesan said the Left Front government lost its Left identity and even the allies in that front are unhappy with such developments.
"Why is the CPI(M) silent right now? They recently made a huge issue after pulling up an old photo of mine when I released a book on Swami Vivekananda. The Mayor said that her party has not banned anyone from attending any such event. This means she attended the event with the party's knowledge," Satheesan said.
Kozhikode district Congress president K Praveen Kumar said that the clandestine nexus between the CPM and the RSS was now out in the open.
"Not only did the CPM mayor take part in the RSS- organised meeting, but she also criticised the way children in Kerala are handled by their families. Her participation in the Balagokulam meeting exposes the links between the CPM and the Sangh Parivar," said Kumar.
KPCC vice president V T Balram, going a step further, asked if the CPM had already announced its candidate for the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency. He made the veiled criticism in a Facebook post without mentioning any name.
However, Philip said she has always had a secular outlook. "I studied in a Muslim management school and have the best of relations even now. Being a mayor, I cannot have any sort of bias. All I did was attend a mothers' meeting and am really sad to see the media twisting the whole thing on what I spoke. Maybe those who did it have vested interest," she said.
In reply to a question on if she had taken the permission of her party to attend it, she said no. "There is no such direction to me. As I am the mayor, I have to go to numerous functions," she said.
Now all eyes are on how the CPM views this and in the coming days, an official explanation might come out.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI.)