KASARAGOD: The BJP’s election campaign in the state began with a bang as firebrand leader and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath flagged off its statewide rally — Vijaya Yatra — in Kasaragod on Sunday. The rally was by far the biggest campaign launch compared with the UDF’s ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’ and the LDF’s ‘Vikasana Munnetta Jatha’, and Adityanath’s presence in Kasaragod pumped up the 15,000-strong crowd decked up in saffron.
Adityanath highlighted his government’s law against ‘love jihad’ and measures to contain Covid and raised the issue of joblessness in an attempt to knock the LDF government from its pedestal. In his 18-minute broadside against the CPM-led LDF, he said the Kerala government has become a laughing stock before the world as it has failed to curb the spread of Covid.
“Earlier, the government of Kerala and the chief minister here used to laugh at the health infrastructure of Uttar Pradesh. But now Uttar Pradesh has fewer than 2,000 active Covid cases in a population of 24 crore,” he said. Even the World Health Organisation appreciated the efforts of the Uttar Pradesh government, he said. “But why is Covid not controlled in Kerala... Today, the world is laughing at Kerala for failing to control Covid,” he said.
The BJP’s Vijaya Yatra is being led by party state president K Surendran. It will touch 100 of the 140 constituencies of Kerala and culminate in Thiruvananthapuram on March 7. Adityanath said the Kerala High Court had in 2009 drawn attention of the government to ‘love jihad’ and asked it to bring in a law to curb it.
The High Court said ‘love jihad’ is part of a conspiracy to turn Kerala into an Islamic state, said Adityanath. “But the state government is sleeping. It is not worried about the conspiracy against the state,” he said and added that the Uttar Pradesh government has brought in a stringent law against ‘love jihad’.
It may be recalled Justice K T Sankaran of the Kerala High Court called on the government to frame law against ‘love jihad’ in 2009. He made the observation after going through the case diary of the police while hearing the bail plea of Shanshah and Sirajuddin, who were facing charges of forced conversion.
However, the same court stayed proceedings in the case. Justice M Shashidharan Nambiar pulled up the investigating officer for shoddy probe and said his conduct “shocked the judicial conscience”. The court stayed the proceedings after the then state police chief Jacob Punnoose told it that there was no conclusive proof of ‘love jihad’ in the case.
Adityanath said the state government played with the sentiments of people on Sabarimala and was also giving a free hand to organisations attacking temples and churches. On joblessness, he said his government gave four lakh jobs in the past four years. The Kerala government, on the other hand, was interested in the development of CPM’s cadre.