Thiruvananthapuram: Hours after the Congress announced Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad seat, the ruling CPM in Kerala accused the grand old party’s chief of joining hands with “Muslim fundamentalists” on the pretext of defeating “communal BJP” in the state.
Taking on Gandhi, CPM state unit general secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, “In Wayanad, UDF ally Muslim League is more dominant than the Congress. The latter has also entered into a pact with the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front of India. Therefore, Rahul Gandhi is fighting the election as a joint candidate of the Congress, IUML, Jamaat and SDPI.”
Stepping up the attack, the former Kerala home minister asked if the Congress leadership had given a thought to whether entering into alliances with “extremist” organisations would help the grand old party at the national level.
“The way to defeat communal BJP is not by joining hands with communal Muslims,” Balakrishnan said.
Terming the alliance “political bankruptcy”, Balakrishnan said secular democratic parties would give a befitting reply to Congress’s “Himalayan blunder” of fielding Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad.
“It’s the responsibility of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to defeat Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad... Fielding him from Wayanad shows the Congress has lost the strength to challenge the BJP in north India. Rahul Gandhi fears losing in Amethi,” the CPM Politburo member said.
He further contended that Congress’s move indicates that the party is in direct fight with the CPM and not the BJP. “There’s no point in the Congress leader fighting from a constituency where the BJP has not announced any candidate yet.”
Gandhi will fight from Wayanad in addition to his current seat Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. The decision is seen as an attempt by the Congress to consolidate its electoral base in south India, especially Kerala which has 20 Lok Sabha seats. Wayanad also provides an opportunity to make gains in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu since the constituency borders the two states.