Opinion | Commies, Congis & Sanghis, let us bury real issues and roll out political bulldozers

Youth Congress and Youth League protest against Chief MInister Pinarayi Vijayan. File Photo: Manorama

Let the protests rage on the streets, with no divine intervention or magic wand in sight to stop this cycle of hogwash being played out by key actors in Kerala's political theatre of the absurd.

It will play out, leaders embroiled in controversies will emerge unscathed and stupid testaments will cover our political spreadsheet, no matter who is on either side of the divide.

The divide is between those who are in power and those who are not now.

So, let us first bury the issues that stoke these raging fires -- gold smuggling via diplomatic channels, nepotism, a thug culture promoted in the name of political freedom, police raj, black flag protests and the embers of religious and communal bigotry.

Because, Black, though in vogue now due to a sudden detest developed by the powers that be, is bound to fade into oblivion.

Pick just the three major players in the political spectrum of Kerala -- ruling CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and a ragtag NDA being steered by the BJP which rules the Centre.

All these players are associated with all of the aforementioned vices -- read virtues when you are in the right side of it.

So, the protests that hijack the streets of Kerala now is more about political oneupmanship and not about a moral high ground or compulsive regard for the betterment of a society or state.

We have a ruling front flagging fascist tendencies of the Centre. It embraces the same levels of arrogance in our spectrum when it comes to dealing with political rivals.

It has exhibited wanton disregard for the convenience of the public or the high seat of the state's top executive when it was in Opposition.

If you can do a rewind, former CM Oommen Chandy was injured after being pelted with stones by an unruly mob in the Communist bastion of Kannur, where present CM, CPM state secretary and LDF convenor hails from.

Oommen Chandy and Pinarayi Vijayan
L-R: Policemen clear the way for Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan's car. On October 27, 2013, the car of then CM of Kerala, Oommen Chandy was stopped and attacked by DYFI activists in Kannur.

The attack on the former CM and his cavalcade happened when he was to attend a function related to the state police.

The CPM workers' "right to protest" by pelting stones and injuring the incumbent Chief Minister was based on his presumptive involvement in the solar scam, which later pitchforked the then Opposition to power.

No questions of propriety in creating a reign of terror were forthcoming from the CPM then.

The same CPM is now crying foul. It detests black flags, it raises the bogey of a terrorist-style attack plot when two passengers raised slogans and black cloth in a flight in which Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was travelling.

The Youth Congress workers, too, were protesting, albeit a bit more peacefully, against the alleged links of the CM, his top officials and his kith and kin in a gold smuggling case.

Youth Congress workers arrested and removed by police in Kannur. Photo: Sameer A Hameed/Manorama

The guiding force behind both the cases is the protest against the powers which exploit a system for personal aggrandisement.

It is nobody's case that just because the CM escaped unhurt in the present case, it is a lesser offence.

The protestors inside the aircraft were probably causing inconvenience to passengers also. They are liable to invite punishment under Civil Aviation rules on unruly passengers. They should be punished, without fail.

By the same yardstick, the LDF convenor's in-flight conduct should also invite scrutiny.

So, let us jump into a hypothesis, like our comrades in arms so often do.

Youth Congress members protest against the CM inside the flight, as E P Jayarajan reacts. Photo: Manorama Online

What if the CM was heckled on the flight?

No figment of imagination is needed to visualise the ensuing scenario. If sloganeering against a CM can invite wanton destruction of property and unequivocal threats of retaliation "on the ground" against political rivals, imagine the extent to which the cadres will go to avenge a perceived injustice to their political master.

And we need not expect saner voices of caution from a front celebrating thuggery -- an accused in a host of cases was given a hero's welcome as cops looked elsewhere only the other day before he was imprisoned.

The celebration was not because he was acquitted, but because his "daring acts" were at the behest of the party and its student wing.

So why did the cops allow such wanton defiance of norms? If such a report is indeed true, the only plausible explanation could be the lack of spine for the men in khakhi to rein in the young comrades, whose political masters are lording over the state for the second term in a row.

So, even though we may go on and on about the brazen acts of comrades and the spineless existence of law enforcers, there has to be an end to the blame game.

And we need to also look into the other players.

The UDF and the BJP-led NDA are no saints just because they lack the organisational might of the CPM.

 They have -- and can --indulged in wanton destruction with reckless abandon as we have witnessed umpteen times -- only that such actions by the CPM invite intense scrutiny.

The issue here is not about freedom of expression or protest, it is about a culture which creates heroes out of thugs who can dazzle in the act of violence or destruction.

Police use water cannons on Youth Congress protestors in Kannur. Photo: Sameer A Hameed/Manorama

A whole chunk of them get away with it by cosying up to their political affiliations and even get rewarded -- the accused in the aforementioned case who got garlanded was recently rewarded with the post of the state secretary of the SFI.

So who suffers? Only the lower rung cadres against whom cases are slapped and knives are out from the other side of the political spectrum.

And their kin.

So that is why we need to bury the real issues and roll out political bulldozers to erase those clarion calls of hatred, destruction, bigotry and herd mentality than can only cause harm to all and sundry.

Now you know why bulldozers, like Black, are in vogue in political parlance but may fade into backyards once new non-issues crop up.

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