June 19, 2022

Bankrupt Politics of Congress in Kerala

KERALA is witnessing the dubious spectacle of  Congress and BJP protesters out in the streets demanding the resignation of the chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan. In several places, the protesters have turned violent and clashed with the police.

The agitation has been motivated by the ludicrous allegations made by an accused, Swapna Suresh, who has been charge-sheeted in the gold smuggling case and is out on bail. Her newly concocted charges include a bag of foreign currency being taken out of the country through diplomatic channels at the behest of the chief minister and other absurd stories like gold being transported in biryani vessels to the chief minister’s residence.

When the gold smuggling through diplomatic channels was first exposed in June 2020, the chief minister had written to the central government for an enquiry by a central agency as it fell under the jurisdiction of the customs department. For two years, the NIA, CBI, ED and customs investigated every aspect and detail of the case and despite wild allegations by the opposition and media, could find nothing against the chief minister or any other minister in the government.

Swapna Suresh, herself, in her nine testimonies to the various agencies, did not mention the chief minister. In fact, from jail, she had sent a voice message that she was being pressurised to implicate the chief minister.

Now, what has changed? Swapna Suresh got bail from the high court in November 2021. Soon after, she took up a job as an executive in an RSS-affiliated NGO – Highrange Rural Development Society (HRDS) along with another co-accused P S Sarith. It is a few months after this that Swapna Suresh recorded a Section 164 statement before a magistrate and then proceeded to make its contents public, even though it is meant to be a confidential document.

The drama that unfolded after these fabricated stories has been predictable. The Congress party took up these laughable charges as the gospel truth and launched a protest movement to demand that the chief minister resign. The BJP-RSS, which had orchestrated the whole affair, followed suit by hitting the streets. Much of the mainstream media has joined the campaign against the chief minister and the LDF government by peddling the falsehoods put out by Swapna Suresh.

The Youth Congress has been trying to block the chief minister’s movements in the state and show black flags. The frenzy whipped up led to a planned effort to physically confront the chief minister. Two Youth Congress leaders from Kannur boarded a flight on which the chief minister was travelling to Trivandrum, and on the plane landing, advanced towards the chief minister shouting slogans. The Congress leader of the opposition, V D Satheesan, has defended this dangerous action on the aircraft as just shouting some slogans of protest and demanded instead that a case be filed against the LDF convenor, E P Jayarajan, who blocked the protesters from advancing towards the chief minister and pushed them back.

It is ironical that when the Congress in Kerala was conducting protests against Pinarayi Vijayan on the day, Rahul Gandhi appeared before the enforcement directorate in the National Herald case, the Congress leadership and workers were out in the streets of Delhi protesting this act of ‘political vendetta’. But in Kerala, Congress is saying that the ED has not acted against Pinarayi Vijayan, because a deal was struck between Modi and Vijayan.

A year ago, the Congress and BJP had conducted more widespread protests against the chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan in the gold smuggling case. After the central agencies failed to find anything to link the chief minister to the case and the people rejected all these allegations in the May 2021 assembly polls, the UDF had become despondent. Now, they are desperately clutching on to the RSS-sponsored Swapna Suresh show hoping to revive their fortunes.

The way Congress is behaving in Kerala, explains a lot about why they have reached the current state of bankruptcy at the national level. They have no compunctions in joining hands with the BJP to fight a Left-led government. They seek to smear Pinarayi Vijayan as a ‘deal-maker’ with Modi when it is their own leaders who are in droves leaving to join the BJP. The fact is, the Congress in Kerala has become the cats-paw for the RSS-BJP-inspired conspiracy against the LDF government.

The Congress-BJP joint offensive in Kerala needs to be met with a strong rebuff by a counter-campaign and mass mobilisation. The people of Kerala who have full confidence in the LDF government and its policies will give a fitting response.

(June 15, 2022)