KOCHI: A Dayafter RSS ideologue R Balashankar stirred the hornet’s nest alleging a secret deal between the CPM and the BJP to ensure K Surendran’s victory at Konni, the BJP-RSS leadership rushed into damage control mode, trying to save the saffron party from the ever-haunting curse of vote sale allegation.
The revelation came as a shot in the arm for the UDF, while the CPM was quick to brush it aside as a demonstration of the BJP’s internal strife.
RSS Pranta Karyavah Gopalankutty master said he was not aware of any discussion to field Balashankar at Chengannur. “It is the BJP leadership that decides the candidates and the RSS supports the candidates fielded by the party,” he said.
However, Union minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan said Balashankar has no role in Kerala politics. “The list of candidates was finalised by the BJP’s national leadership. Balashankar’s allegations have put the Prime Minister and leadership in a difficult situation”, he said.
Responding to Muraleedharan’s charge, Balshankar told TNIE that he had informed Muraleedharan about his wish to contest from Chengannur. “I came to Chengannur after discussions with the leaders of the BJP and RSS. Kerala is not the exclusive property of anyone to say that I have no role here,” he said.
Refuting the RSS leader’s allegation, BJP state president K Surendran said Balashankar could have secured the seat if he had influence in the central leadership. “We had sent a panel of candidates to the national leadership and did not insist on any particular candidate. If he is so powerful, he could have used his influence,” he said.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said Balashankar’s revelations have proven that the UDF allegation of a CPM-BJP understanding was true. Balashankar’s allegations cannot be brushed aside as the outburst of a person who has failed to get an assembly seat for himself. He is a top leader of the RSS and known to be close to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chengannur sitting MLA and CPM candidate Saji Cheriyan said Balashankar’s allegation was a reflection of BJP’s internal strife. “Chengannur, Aranmula and Konni are CPM’s sitting seats and there is no need for CPM to seek the support of BJP to win these constituencies,” he said.