The CPI(M) in Kerala is training a smoking gun back at the Congress in an ongoing war of words between the State’s two principal parties over the other’s alleged bid to befriend the RSS for electoral gains.

The first salvo was fired by CPI(M) Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan, who saw evidence of the Congress-led UDF pampering the BJP-RSS ahead of the Assembly elections. Congress leader and Kerala CM Oommen Chandy shot back, saying Vijayan was making baseless allegations. He said it was the Marxists who had indulged the Jan Sangh soon after the lifting of Emergency in 1977.

CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan joined issue with Chandy last Friday, saying the Congress had a history of pandering to the RSS. He told BusinessLine that the CPI(M)-led LDF had shunned both the Jan Sangh and the BJP. “We had some understanding with the Janata Party in 1977. But it was a Jan Sangh-free outfit,” he said.

Balakrishnan said Chandy was trying to put up a smokescreen to hide his own secret parleys with the BJP-RSS. “This is of a piece with the well-chronicled electoral past of the Congress. It dates as far back as the 1980 elections. The Congress was then in league with the BJP — both for Assembly and Parliament.”

‘They’ve a history’

KG Marar of the BJP was then a mutually accepted candidate from Peringalam in Kannur district. O Rajagopal fought from the Kasaragod Parliament constituency. The understanding was micro-managed by Congress leader K Karunakaran. But the experiment failed and the UDF tasted defeat, Kodiyeri alleged.

In 1991, the nexus was on show in the Vadakara Parliament constituency and the Beypore Assembly seat. RSS votes shifted to the UDF’s favour in as many as 50 Assembly constituencies, leading to an LDF defeat in 41.

The UDF rode on the back of this partnership (locally called ‘Ko-Lee-Bee’ for Congress-(Muslim) League-BJP) to power. At the Centre, the BJP and the Congress worked in tandem to work the downfall of the VP Singh government, he added.

In 2016, UDF is in a secret alliance with the RSS in many Assembly constituencies, he said. “That’s why you get to see UDF purposefully fielding weak candidates in these constituencies.”

‘Vote-trading on’

The UDF has worked out a detailed game plan for trading votes, Balakrishnan said. For instance, in Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram, BJP candidate Rajagopal will benefit from the largesse of Congress votes. In return, RSS votes will go to Congress candidate V Sivakumar in Thiruvananthapuram Central next door.

Likewise, in Manjeswaram in Kasaragod, Congress votes will go to K Surendran of the BJP while in neighbouring Uduma, RSS will vote for K Sudhakaran of the Congress.

All this is being executed by Vellappally Natesan, whose newly-formed, predominantly-Ezhava Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) is an ally of the BJP.

Balakrishnan said it was Chandy who facilitated Vellappally’s entry into the BJP-led front.