Kerala politics enters a turbulent phase

With the Kerala CPI(M)’s protests against the arrest of party leaders in connection with the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandrashekharan turning violent, Kerala politics has entered a turbulent phase.

The proximate cause for the CPI(M)’s belligerence has been the arrest of Kozhikode district party committee member P Mohanan – the most important arrest effected in the TP murder case so far. The arrest has demolished, sky high, the party’s claim that no leader from the district was involved in the TP murder conspiracy. It also betrays the party’s apprehension over the possibility of more prominent leaders landing in the police net.

In the protest action which followed Mohanan’s arrest, the party activists attacked media personnel and indulged in heavy stoning of even courts. The party has justified the violence on the specious plea that it was a spontaneous reaction of the party workers against the arrest of an ‘innocent’ leader.

The CPI(M) leadership, unnerved by the latest police action, has, predictably, dubbed it as a deliberate attempt to destroy the party by framing party leaders in false cases in a script readied by the UDF Government with the help of a few police officers. The CPI(M) ought to realise that such crude attempts to disturb the law and order situation in the state will only further strengthen the growing public revulsion at the party’s glorification of violence.

The reaction of state CPI(M) secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and party general secretary Prakash Karat has been on predicted lines. Both see a well-orchestrated UDF conspiracy to weaken the Kerala CPI(M). Vijayan has also signalled the CPI(M)’s intent to intensify the protests if the government fails to reverse its policy of repression against the party.

With the state government making it clear that it would not intervene in the police investigations, the state seems to be heading for a prolonged period of turmoil and turbulence.

It is not as if the CPI(M) alone is in a mood to vitiate the climate of peace in the state. By indulging in politics of brinkmanship, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the ally of the Congress in the United Democratic Front(UDF) ruling the state, has also escalated political tensions.

The IUML’s proclivity to resort to unilateralism in decision-making has sparked off a major political crisis threatening the government’s stability and raising the prospects of a minority-majority confrontation. The IUML’s latest act of provocation relates to the announcement by the education minister who belongs to the party, granting 35 schools in five districts of the Malabar region aided school status in blatant disregard of a cabinet decision to take over these schools.

The IUML minister’s arrogant act not only dented the chief minister’s dignity but also badly tarnished the government’s image or whatever is left of it. True, the uproar created by the opposition parties has induced a rethink in the matter. But the decision has angered organisations like the NSS and SNDP so much so that these two bodies representing the Nairs and Ezhavas respectively have decided to   end their differences and launch an agitation against the Oommen Chandy government in protest against the ‘total surrender’ to the IUML’s whims. Unless the government reverses its minority appeasement policy and address the concerns of the majority community, the state could witness the fabric of communal amity coming under severe strain.
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