V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan said a fraught history dyed by the indelible blood of party colleagues prevented the Congress from having any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala.

Speaking to The Hindu at his official residence in the Cantonment House in Thiruvananthapuram recently, Mr. Satheesan said little has changed between the parties on the ground in Kerala despite both being INDIA Bloc allies against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the national level.

“The CPI(M) has killed at least 50 Congress workers over the years in North Kerala alone. Congress activists’ antipathy to the CPI(M) borders on the visceral. Any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala was tantamount to an insult to the memory of Congress martyrs and their families,” Mr. Satheesan said.

He said there was no dichotomy between Congress’s positions vis-a-vis the CPI(M) at the State and national levels.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has found a common cause with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) on issues such as the Palestine question and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Legislative Assembly.

Both fronts have unanimously adopted resolutions on the subjects, but that does not entail sharing a common political platform in Kerala during the pivotal Lok Sabha elections that could decide the country’s political trajectory.


The CPI(M) has repeatedly accused the Congress of being BJP’s ideological echo chamber in Kerala by adopting comparable attack lines against the government on alleged corruption and nepotism. How do you counter the LDF’s accusation?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
During the previous UDF government, the CPI(M) and the BJP found common cause on several issues against the administration and agitated separately. The Congress saw no paradox in their respective positions as independent Opposition parties. The CPI(M) is mischievously hinting at a Congress-BJP tack that does not exist.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The Congress has repeatedly claimed evidence of a covert CPI(M)-BJP understanding in Kerala even while ‘posing’ as irreconcilable polities forms. What are the grounds for such an accusation?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The SNC Lavalin case alone provides irrefutable proof of the clandestine concord. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is one of the respondents in the case. The CBI’s appeal against his acquittal by the trial court has been inexplicably pending in the Supreme Court since 2017. Similarly, Enforcement Directorate [ED] and Customs investigations into the sensational gold smuggling case involving Mr. Vijayan’s former Principal Secretary have ended in blind alleys. So have election bribery and hawala cases against BJP leaders in Kerala. The pattern is telling and speaks for itself.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
Will or have these alleged give and take manifested as electoral understandings between the RSS and the CPI(M) in Kerala?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
Tellingly, a top RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] leader who headed the organisation’s mouthpiece, Organiser, had revealed that the Sangh Parivar had backed the LDF in the past two Assembly elections to retard the Congress. No CPI(M) leader has denied the RSS’s statement. Moreover, the LDF rewarded a spiritual figure with a liberal lease on four acres of prime government land for acting as a go-between the CPI(M) and the RSS in Kerala.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The CPI(M) has repeatedly accused the Opposition leader of launching vindictive attacks against Mr. Vijayan, his office and his family. How do you counter that charge?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
With facts and nothing else. Two statutory bodies have accused Mr. Vijayan’s daughter, owner of a now dormant IT consultancy, of laundering money through her firm’s bank accounts. The company received substantial monthly payoffs from private entities without providing tangible services or consultancy. Naturally, the findings cast Mr. Vijayan under a cloud. They triggered probes by the Enforcement Directorate and the Serious Fraud Investigation Organisation (SFIO). The Congress has merely held a mirror to the ground. It’s the moral obligation of the Opposition to hold the government to account.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
You have repeatedly claimed that the CPI(M) and the BJP were unequal partners in an illicit nexus. Why?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The BJP and the CPI(M) share a master-slave relationship, given the Central investigations that hang like the proverbial Damocles Sword over Mr. Vijayan’s head. The threat of arrest looms over Dr. Thomas Isaac, who has been fighting ED notices. The ED has already jailed several CPI(M) leaders suspected of cooperative bank corruption. Others, including a top leader in Thrissur, fear imminent arrest.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
You have forecast that the CPI(M) and the BJP might resort to last-minute tactical voting to diminish the Congress’s chances in specific Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala. How do you support that accusation?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
LDF convener E.P. Jayarajan had endorsed at least two BJP candidates, stating that they were potential winners not to be trifled with. Moreover, Mr. Jayarajan has not dared challenge my contention that his family shared a hugely profitable business relationship with the next of kin of BJP leader and Union Minister Rajiv Chandrasekhar.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The CPI(M) has repeatedly targeted Rahul Gandhi’s candidature from Wayanad, stating that the INDIA Bloc leader should fight the BJP and not the LDF in Kerala.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The CPI(M) has repeatedly attacked Rahul Gandhi but remained strangely silent about top BJP leaders, including Mr. [Narendra] Modi. The ruling party’s commitment to defeat the BJP was highly suspect, at least in Kerala. The CPI has sent a senior party leader to contest Mr. Gandhi in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
You have accused the CPI(M) of attempting to eclipse the disadvantages of incumbency by playing up the CAA to harness Muslim votes. Why?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The CPI(M) is desperate to change the agenda of the LS election. It desires to draw a veil over the State’s crippling financial crisis. There are no medicines in State-run hospitals. Public utilities such as KSRTC, KSEB, and Civil Supplies face mounting debts that could hamper their operations. Roads are in a pitiable state of disrepair. Kerala reflects the image of an impoverished State in an unstoppable decline.

Social welfare pensions remain unpaid. Government salaries are delayed and paid in instalments. Noon meal schemes, paddy procurement and debt relief to farmers have ground to a halt. Development has ground to a halt. Civic work contractors are unwilling to execute public works because of pending bills.

The treasury is empty. The government has asked LSGIs [Local Self Government Institutions] to transfer their revenue to the State treasuries to prevent an administrative shutdown. This order goes against the grain of decentralisation of power as envisaged in the Municipal and Panchayat Acts.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
The Congress has claimed that the fiscal crisis was the State’s responsibility and has pointedly refused to blame the Centre.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
That’s a distortion. The Centre has contributed to the crisis by denying Kerala its share of the national revenue and often discriminating against the State. The CPI(M) has exaggerated the Centre’s fiscal approach to cover its fiscal failures.

The LDF’s dismal tax administration, reckless outside budget borrowings and prolificacy were the leading causes of the cash crunch. Kerala is a haven for tax dodgers.

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
Has the CPI(M) leaned on recent defections from the Congress to the BJP to draw an ideological and political equivalency between the Opposition parties?

V.D. Satheesan Interview | A fraught history pigmented by the blood of Congress martyrs precluded any truck with the CPI(M) in Kerala, says the Oppositon leader
A motley crew of discontents have jumped ship to join the BJP. It tells on them and not the Congress. Moreover, the Congress ship becomes more seaworthy when such elements abandon the party.

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