The row between the ruling CPI(M) and Congress in Kerala over allegations of RSS ties have left a bad taste in the mouth for the Left government. The war of words between the LDF and UDF over alleged saffron ties took an interesting turn when the CPI(M)'s seniormost politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai revealed that he was indeed a member of the RSS unit when he was young.
The controversy had erupted after a bitter war of words between CPI(M) and the Congress after the Kerala gold smuggling scam was busted in the state and some of the accused had alleged ties to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office.
CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had targeted the senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on his links with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Writing for the CPM mouthpiece Deshabhimani, Kodiyeri had dubbed Chennithala a 'Sarsanghchalak' within the Congress.
Balakrishnan had also quoted the voting pattern at Chennithala's assembly constituency (Harippad in Alappuzha district) to bolster the point that the BJP helped the latter in elections. He said the saffron party and the Sangh helped the Congress leader as his father Ramakrishnan Nair was an RSS sympathiser.
Chennithala, who became an MLA at the age of 25, had usually maintained a stony silence every time the accusations at him were made.
Balakrishnan accused Chennithala of being the RSS' blue-eyed boy and this time, in response Chennithala had hit back, saying that no one has any doubts over his DNA. The remark was probably hinted at Balakrishnan's son Binoy Kodiyeri, who was asked to take a DNA test by a Mumbai court on allegations by a Mumbai woman who complained that Binoy had sexually exploited her for years and fathered a son with her.
Following this, Janmabhoomi, a daily affiliated to the BJP and Sangh Parivar, published an article on the RSS associations of many leaders. Even though the piece ruled out any direct links of Chennithala with RSS other than his family's participation in programmes conducted by the RSS at his native Chennithala in Alappuzha district, it however, said that CPI(M) politburo member Ramachandran Pillai, also known as SRP, was a Sikshak at Pullikkanakk in Krishnapuram Panchayat in Alappuzha while he was a student.
The CPI(M) mouthpiece Desabhimani then published an article by Balakrishnan which painted Ramesh as a member of the 'Sangh Parivar' and accused Janmabhoomi of a rescue act for a Sangh Parivar follower's son.
However, following the articles, Ramachandran Pillai revealed that he was indeed attached to the RSS Shakha when he was a schoolboy. The 82-year-old Pillai said he was closely associated with the RSS and used to attend RSS Shakha at his native village near Kayamkulam until the age of 15. Pillai said that he joined the Communist party at the age of 18 as he preferred ‘internationalism’ to ‘nationalism’.
According to sources, it was under the influence of RSS Pracharak P Madhavan, known as Madhavji, Ramachandran Pillai became a member of the organisation.
Sources said Chennithala has decided not to react to Kodiyeri Balakrishnan’s allegation. However, a host of UDF leaders including the KPCC president and Muslim League leadership along with a large number of Congress leaders have rallied behind Chennithala.
Congress' VT Balram hit out at Balakrishnan saying the latter 'had a dirty mind' and was 'hitting below the belt'.