Red and saffron hues join forces against Vizhinjam agitation

CPM district secretary Anavur Nagappan and BJP district president V V Rajesh stood shoulder to shoulder at the culmination of the Long March taken out by the Vizhinjam Port Local Collective. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The anti-Adani Port agitation spearheaded by the Latin Church seems to have achieved what was till now thought unlikely. It has brought together the district heads of the CPM and BJP on the same public platform.

CPM district secretary Anavur Nagappan and BJP district president VV Rajesh stood shoulder to shoulder at the culmination of the Long March taken out by the Vizhinjam Port Local Collective against the Church-led agitation on Tuesday. The march traversed the 15-odd km from the coastal ward of Mulloor, where the Vizhinjam port is coming up, to the Secretariat.

The Local Collective wants the shamiana erected for agitators near the entrance to the port site demolished and also insists on removing all impediments to port construction.

Though the CPM and the BJP are against the ongoing anti-Port agitation, and have denounced it separately, their leaders have never come together on a public platform against the agitation. If they have decided to come together, it is seen as a sign of the LDF government's determination to whip up a broad-based public campaign against the coastal agitation.

Local Congress leaders, too, are part of the pro-port brigade. One of the prominent figures in the anti-port Local Collective is Mulloor's popular Congress ward member C Omana. Seen in this context, a political mobilisation, cutting across ideological divides, seems to be gathering force against the Latin Church-led struggle.

The LDF government has already made it clear that stopping port construction was non-negotiable. The protesters, on the other hand, insist that they would continue their protest till construction was brought to a standstill and Adani banished from the Kerala coast.

While speaking at the culmination of the Long March, Anavur repeated the charge that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made right when the agitation had begun. "The protesters at Vizhinjam are driven by certain other interests," Anavur said. The Chief Minister had said that the protesters were instigated by “outside forces”.

Anavur on Tuesday said the government had accepted all their demands. If they were still holding out, the CPM district secretary said their intentions were suspicious. He said the CPM would offer support to any people's collective that formed against the anti-port agitation.

Vizhinjam International Seaport Limited under construction. File photo: Manorama

The BJP district president hinted that both parties would use their combined might to crush the agitation. "This is a project jointly implemented by the centre and the state," VV Rajesh said.

Earlier in the day, general education minister V Sivankutty levelled a grave allegation against the protesters. He said they were gearing up to unleash widespread riots along the coast. He said by setting fire to boats and nets the agitating fishermen were creating an atmosphere of dread along the coast.

Sivankutty also warned of serious consequences if anything happens to the ailing former archbishop Soosapackiam, whom he alleged the protesters were attempting to draw into the struggle.

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