Kerala

CPI(M) in firefighting mode after SFI attack on Rahul Gandhi's office

Congress workers protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, by burning tyres in front of the office of the district police chief in Kozhikode city on Friday.

Congress workers protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, by burning tyres in front of the office of the district police chief in Kozhikode city on Friday. | Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

The attack on Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi’s office at Kalpetta by Students Federation of India activists appears to have pushed the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] into a firefighting mode. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury’s condemnation of the incident indicates the party’s “discomfiture”.

Mr. Vijayan tweeted: “Strongly condemn the offence on @RGWayanadOffice. In our country, everyone has the right to air their opinions and protest democratically. However, that shouldn’t result in excess. It is a wrong tendency. Strict action will be taken against the culprits”. It was unclear whether Mr. Vijayan had conveyed his dismay to Mr. Gandhi directly.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: "Strongly denounce and condemn what happened in Wayanad Kerala today. Kerala State CM has already condemned it. Police has initiated measures against those responsible". LDF convenor E.P. Jayarajan echoed a similar sentiment.

Reason for protest

The CPI(M) reportedly feels the SFI's "thoughtless and out of the blue" protest had disadvantaged the ruling front and cast the CPI(M) in an unflattering light on the national stage. The agitation was against Mr. Gandhi's alleged apathy towards the plight of Wayanad residents "threatened" by the Supreme Court's direction to impose a 1-km ecologically sensitive zone around national parks.

For one, the SFI had inadvertently handed a powerful stick to the Opposition to pummel the government when the Assembly convenes on Monday.

The government, though numerically strong in the House, was "reeling" from the "battering" it endured at the hands of Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party over the gold smuggling scandal and K-Rail (SilverLine) issue. The SFI's action has added to the LDF's woes.

KSU workers burn a picture of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kochi on Friday during a  protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, in Wayanad.

KSU workers burn a picture of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kochi on Friday during a protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, in Wayanad. | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

A ‘warning’

The Wayanad incident has arguably animated the Congress. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president K. Sudhakaran, somewhat ominously, warned the CPI(M) against "testing the patience" of Congress workers. Mr. Vijayan's words of contrition rang hollow. Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan tied the attack to Mr. Vijayan's office. He saw a bid to divert attention from the scandals that plagued Mr. Vijayan. A galaxy of Congress leaders, including Mr. Satheeshan, will descend on Wayanad on Saturday.

Congress activists sit on the road at Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram, when the police stopped them from proceeding to AKG Centre, the CPI(M) headquarters, in protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, in Wayanad.

Congress activists sit on the road at Palayam, Thiruvananthapuram, when the police stopped them from proceeding to AKG Centre, the CPI(M) headquarters, in protest against the attack on the office of Rahul Gandhi, MP, in Wayanad. | Photo Credit: SPL

Street protests and torch lights marches erupted across the State. The police arrested several Congress protesters in Wayanad, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. They have given protection to key CPI(M) and Congress offices to prevent retaliatory attacks.


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Printable version | Aug 17, 2022 4:06:49 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cpim-in-firefighting-mode-after-sfi-attack-on-rahuls-office/article65561990.ece