It's Rahul vs Pinarayi in Kerala as Lok Sabha poll campaign heats up in state

Pinarayi said the flow of members from the Congress to the BJP has begun in Kerala, with many more UDF leaders waiting in the state to join the BJP.
(L-R) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan
(L-R) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Kerala CM Pinarayi VijayanEPS/ Parveen Negi

KANNUR/MALAPPURAM/PALAKKAD : With just a week left for the Lok Sabha election in the state, the UDF and the Left front have intensified their campaigns which saw Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan taking on each other.

While Rahul launched a scathing attack against Pinarayi for “not speaking against BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi” and only targeting him during his campaigns, the chief minister shot back saying the LDF does not need a certificate from the Congress to fight the RSS and the anti-people policies of Modi.

Pinarayi said through the CAA, the BJP is implementing the RSS agenda, and the Congress at the national level failed to act against the RSS agenda. He said Rahul should answer whether the Congress national leadership told its Kerala unit to stay away from anti-CAA protests.

Speaking at UDF’s campaign programmes in Kannur and Palakkad, Rahul wondered why Pinarayi has not been investigated by the central agencies yet. “Two chief minister’s in this country are already in jail for standing against the BJP government. If Pinarayi is against the BJP, I wonder why he has not faced any legal consequences yet. Why didn’t he go to jail? The CM is attacking me 24 hours a day. His approach is very surprising,” said Rahul.

“I find it interesting that your chief minister is not being attacked in any way by the BJP. Nobody has taken away his house, nobody has taken away his membership to the Vidhan Sabha and he has not been called for interrogation (by the central agencies) for even one minute. So it’s a bit surprising that if he (Pinarayi) is fighting the BJP, then why are they (BJP) so pleased with him?” Rahul wondered.

“If anyone attacks the BJP, the investigation agencies in this country will definitely go after them. Pinarayi says that he is waging an ideological battle against the BJP. Then I’m surprised why ED is not doing anything against Pinarayi in Kerala,” Rahul said.

Addressing a UDF campaign rally in Palakkad, Rahul said while he attacks BJP in every state he goes, the Kerala CM spends the whole time attacking him. “He does not say a single word against the BJP. So, I just wanted to leave that with you to think about,” said Rahul at the rally. 

LDF doesn’t need a certificate from Congress to combat RSS: Pinarayi

Pinarayi strongly criticised the UDF and Congress leaders, including Rahul, citing their lack of initiatives to combat the BJP-led NDA. Addressing mediapersons in Malappuram on Thursday, Pinarayi said: “Those questioning why the CM is not speaking against Modi and the BJP are the ones leading the same party that sponsored LS five candidates for the NDA in Kerala. To combat the RSS and the anti-people policies of Modi, the LDF does not need a certificate from the Congress. Those who lit lamps in front of Golwalkar’s photo and garnered votes by supplicating to the RSS should not lecture us.”

Speaking at the campaign of LDF candidate K S Hamsa in Ponnani, Pinarayi said through the CAA, the BJP is implementing the RSS agenda, and the Congress failed to act against it. “During protests against the CAA in 2019, CPI general secretary D Raja and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, and Brinda Karat were arrested. Have you seen any Congress leaders in that list of arrested? Rahul Gandhi says the Congress is being criticised in Kerala. But the Congress should answer my question. Has anyone seen any Congress leaders during the CAA protests at that stage? Why did Congress leaders stay away from protests?” he said.

“The Congress has not conducted any protest against the CAA outside Kerala. So, the national leadership of the Congress must have asked the Kerala leadership to stay away from the protest. Rahul Gandhi is conducting campaigns in Kerala. He should answer whether the national leadership of the Congress told the Congress in Kerala to stay away from anti-CAA protests,” Pinarayi said.

Pinarayi said the flow of members from the Congress to the BJP has begun in Kerala, with many more UDF leaders waiting in the state to join the BJP.

He said in this Lok Sabha election, people will cast their votes against the opportunistic Congress, which does not take a stand on matters affecting the people. “The Congress failed to take a strong stand against the CAA and the financial policies of the Union government. The fight in Kerala is between the LDF, which has taken a strong stand on certain issues, and the UDF, which is reluctant to take strong stands on matters affecting the people in Kerala,” he said. Pinarayi added that the NDA, which is in the third position in the state, will become irrelevant after this election.

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