The Communist Party of India (CPI) seems to have waded into the stand-off between the ruling front and the Opposition over Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] legislator M.M. Mani's allegedly anti-feminist comments on Revolutionary Marxist Party (CMP) MLA K.K. Rema.
The Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) has found an unlikely but bashful ally in the Left party after Mr. Mani lashed out against CPI leader Annie Raja for deeming his remark brazenly anti-women. The Opposition could leverage the CPI's ire against Mr. Mani to disadvantage the ruling front in the Assembly.
However, CPI State secretary Kanam Rajendran clarified that the Speaker's decision was final.
Mr. Mani said in arguably coarse parlance in Idukki on Saturday that Ms. Raja's domain was New Delhi and she had no competency to comment on Assembly affairs. CPI Idukki district secretary K.K. Sivaraman alleged that Mr. Mani had used an expletive when describing Ms. Raja's political pursuits. It was an anti-feminist slur used by serial slanderers. It reflected a medieval outlook on life. Mr. Mani appeared to swear by the anachronistic and oppressive social values in Manu Smriti, which relegated women to a subaltern societal role.
Mr. Sivaraman pointed out that Mr. Mani's leader and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat's work was analogous to that of Ms. Raja.
Ms. Raja took issue with Mr. Mani. She said Mr. Mani's words smacked of misogyny and male chauvinism. She said she was part of the radical feminist movement for decades and such abuse rarely deterred her.
The UDF is unwilling to let the issue rest. Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said Mr. Mani's anti-women posture reflected the mindset of ight-wing reactionaries who believed that widows had no life and should linger in the penumbra of darkened homes forever.
Some in the UDF felt that the CPI(M) had tasked Mr. Mani to speak scandalously to divert public attention from the scandals dogging the government. They also believe Mr. Mani's diversionary attack on Ms. Rema and Ms. Raja was a sequel to the CPI(M)'s "stage-managed" bomb explosion in front of AKG Centre. The insiders felt the Opposition should not rise to the bait and remain laser-focused on the real issues at stake.