Congress claims to be secular but then it follows the Sangh Parivar line: Pinarayi Vijayan

It is trying to compete with the BJP on the cow… even in Kerala, Congress toed the RSS line on Sabarimala. This is the biggest failure of that party, says Kerala CM

In Delhi to take part in the CPI (M) Polit Bureau meeting to debate the electoral strategy ahead of the Lok Sabha election, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took time off to talk about Sabarimala, the Madhya Pradesh government’s move to impose the National Security Act (NSA) on Muslim men for cow slaughter and the ‘soft Hindutva’ of the Congress.

There is speculation that there could be consolidation of Hindu vote against you because of your government’s stand on Sabarimala?

It is a wrong speculation. There is no Hindu consolidation against us. When the CPI (M) organised the women’s wall, there were women from every section of society. There was no difference between forward or backward castes. Though some people are trying to build such binaries we saw an unexpected number of participants.

Look at what is happening next door to us in Karnataka? The Congress MLAs are deserting their own party. We do not have any such problem with our credibility. Also it is not a question of power. In UPA (I) a lot of initiatives were taken only because of the Left’s strength. The minority in Kerala believes that the Left should have a strong presence in Parliament to steer the policy.

What is your opinion on the Madhya Pradesh government’s recent move to slap NSA on three Muslim men for cow slaughter?

It is not only wrong but an anti-secular move. The Congress claims to be secular but then it follows the Sangh Parivar line.

Even the earlier BJP government in MP did not use such a stringent section for cow slaughter. The Congress is trying to compete with the BJP on the cow. Digvijay Singh proclaimed that the Congress was the first to ban cow slaughter. In fact, if the Congress follows in the footsteps of the RSS then they are only strengthening communalism. Even in Kerala, the Congress toed the RSS line on Sabarimala. This is the biggest failure of the Congress.

The CPI (M)’s stated position is that its primary political aim is to oust the BJP government. In such a situation will you ally with the Congress if need be?

In today’s India, if the BJP government returns for another five years, then we face a total annihilation of our democratic and secular values and our institutions. In fact India as we know shall cease to exist.

The only way out is to ensure that the BJP does not return to power. And to that end, we will employ the needful measures. The question of allying or not with the Congress is secondary. For example in Uttar Pradesh, joining of two regional forces, the SP-BSP, today threatens the BJP. In fact, if the Congress wants the BJP out then it should support such an alliance and ensure that it is not weakened by a split in their votes.

What about understanding with the Congress in West Bengal?  

The recent rally in Brigade Ground in Kolkata was the biggest in last one decade. This is an indicator of change in winds in West Bengal. Left can no longer be ignored. I can not speak at length about our strategy in the state since we are still deliberating on it but as of now we have not discussed our stand on understanding with Congress in the state.

Has the Kerala Unit altered their stand opposing understanding with Congress in West Bengal, especially after Tripura?

It is a misunderstanding that a certain unit in the party is stalling anything. There is no Bengal or Kerala unit within the party. There is no unit stalling any move. We debate and deliberate everything openly. Our main target is to defeat BJP. We will stand against BJP where we can and in other seats we will support the political party that is in position to defeat BJP. The only condition is that they should be “secular”.

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