There is no doubt that Rahul Gandhi’s candidacy in Wayanad has reenergized the party cadre across Kerala; however, that enthusiasm hasn’t spilled over to Thiruvananthapuram where Shashi Tharoor is contesting the election for a third term. For reasons that cannot be explained well, the party workers at the ward and booth level have been lackadaisical in taking the party’s message to the voters at the ground level. If the party leadership doesn’t wake up and deal with the situation with a sense of urgency, we might lose the representation for Kerala by an internationally acclaimed personality whose victory not only may assure a cabinet-level appointment after the elections, but also provide a powerful voice in the Parliament and across the nation on behalf of pluralism and democracy.

The group rivalry that has been a fixture in the Congress politics in the state may have a lot to do with the current situation. There are areas in the constituency where party workers are notably absent. It has been said that more volunteers are working in Wayanad where Rahul Gandhi is running from, although that is a very safe constituency for the party, than in Thiruvananthapuram. The UDF is slated to win a majority of the seats from Kerala, and yet some of the contests are just too close to call.

Thiruvananthapuram is one of those constituencies where the BJP has poured in resources and fielded hundreds of RSS volunteers with a vow to defeat Tharoor. It appears that removing a great critic of the Modi regime has almost become an obsession in the higher ranks of BJP and they are willing to pay any price towards achieving that goal.

The voters in Kerala are smart, thoughtful and deliberate. They also know very well how to distinguish a Vidhan Sabha election from a parliamentary one. They have witnessed the neglect and disdain shown by the BJP government towards Kerala especially during the great flood. They also have learned about the alleged involvement of RSS proxies who appear to have filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking for the entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala Temple, and BJP at the Center and at the state level initially welcomed such a decision.

It is Modi’s Home Ministry that refused to file any review petition on behalf of the faithful they purportedly defending right now. It is the same ministry that kept reminding the state government to implement the SC decision. It is also the Modi government that has done nothing at the Central level either through an ordinance or via legislation to remedy the issue. After having done nothing other than to fan the flames of division and exasperate the situation with their cadre protests to create havoc across the state similar to what has happened in Ayodhya, Gujarat, and Muzzafarnagar, they have now professed themselves to be the great guardians of the faithful. Keralites understand the devious game that is being played upon them, and they will give a fitting reply to the BJP through the ballot box.

George Abraham

Via E-mail

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