It is the final frontier for the BJP and the last bastion of the Left. Both the parties are not sparing any ammunition in what is tipped to be battleground Kerala. On one side are national leaders of the BJP and the RSS, and on the other Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. The gloves that were donned for a round of ‘controlled hostility’ seem to have come off. The public is worried though as concerns, of the no-holds-barred war of words provoking the cadre into another bout of violence, are rife.
Whether it be the tirades of the RSS against the alleged appeasement politics of the CPM or claims and counterclaims on political killings that sparked the acerbic duel, it can only be hoped that things do not escalate. True, skirmishes between the CPM and BJP cadre ahead of the visit of BJP president Amit Shah did not reach Kannur. On day one, Shah pinned the blame on the CM for taking the lives of 64 BJP men.
The sparring continued on day two with UP CM Yogi Adityanath asking Kerala to take lessons from UP on how to run hospitals. The repartee on the deplorable health indices of UP was quick to follow. On day three, with Shah stuck in Delhi, the much awaited showdown in the CM’s hometown failed to materialise. In fact, no sparks flew as the CPM cadre in Pinarayi remained silent spectators to non-provocative slogans from the BJP yatris.
Even as the feared face-off remained a non-starter, it could not be denied the Congress was forced to be a mute spectator in this fight between the Left and the Right. But there is still a fair distance for the BJP to travel from holding a rally to occupying the space of Opposition, currently occupied by the Congress. In a land where political parties are known to make yatras count in the run-up to the hustings, it is still an open question if the BJP can translate its war of words into votes. Because, there is only so much national leaders can do in a state election.