'The Congress's arrogance and unrealistic claims have weakened the anti-BJP movement at the national level.'
As the Left parties face a crucial Lok Sabha test in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan feels Rahul Gandhi's candidature from Wayanad eroded the Congress's anti-BJP posture nationally.
"The Congress is pursuing soft Hindutva all over the country," Vijayan, member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo, tells Shine Jacob.
The Congress terms Rahul's candidature from Wayanad as historical. What is your take on this?
It is quite surprising that a national party claiming to be fighting the BJP decided to field its national president in Wayanad, where the BJP does not have any significance. In fact, in Wayanad, there was no candidate from the BJP. The fight was between the Left and the Congress.
I would ask the Congress leadership in Delhi about the message they want to send by contesting against the Left. Neither Rahul nor any other senior Congress leader has given a convincing reply to this.
Some leaders in Kerala say Rahul's candidature in Wayanad would brighten the Congress's prospects in south India. This argument is absolutely baseless. I would like to make it clear that Rahul's contest in Wayanad will not have any impact even in Kerala. I must say it was a foolish decision of the Congress.
In fact, it eroded the Congress's anti-BJP posture at the national level. In fact, it gave a weapon in the hands of the BJP. An impression has been created that he has taken refuge in Wayanad fearing defeat in Amethi.
If he was sincere about combating the BJP he would have contested from Karnataka where the Congress is directly fighting the BJP.
Do you think that this has weakened the anti-BJP movement?
The Congress's arrogance and unrealistic claims have weakened the anti-BJP movement at the national level.
You know what happened in UP. This can only benefit BJP indirectly.
In Delhi also, the Congress refused to have a tie-up with AAP.
I must say the Congress is not at all serious about its fight against BJP.
The Congress is pursuing soft Hindutva all over the country. In MP, the Congress had the audacity to invoke NSA on cases relating to cows.
Why did the BJP and Congress make Sabarimala an issue in the election?
It is only because the BJP that ruled the country for five years does not have any achievement to showcase before the people. Hence, they are talking of Sabarimala in Kerala and Ayodhya in UP and other northern states.
Unfortunately, the Congress also joined the chorus just to whip up communal feelings for political gains. I am sure the people of Kerala saw through their game plan.
People cast their votes assessing the Modi government's performance. People will realise that the Left forces are consistently fighting the communal agenda of the RSS and the BJP.
Two social sector poll promises, Nyay and PM Kisan, have grabbed the headlines. Do you see it as realistic?
These promises are nothing, but election gimmicks. People won't be hoodwinked with such promises.
Our farm sector is facing a severe crisis. Farmers tend to commit suicide in many parts of the country. Farmers's distress is unprecedented.
The Modi government neglected our farm sector totally. While the public sector banks have written off lakhs of crores of debts of big corporates, the Modi government did not support the farmers.
Farm income growth crashed to the lowest in 14 years -- 2.67% in the last quarter of 2018. Farmers in many states are on the agitation path.
When elections came closer, the government announced the PM Kisan scheme. Such schemes won't solve the crisis in the farm sector.
The Congress's Nyay scheme is another election jumla. Wasn't it the same party which had brought the Garibi Hatao slogan decades back?
Had they had acted upon their promise, there would have been no need of this so-called hollow promise.
What role is the Left Front expected to play in the post-election scenario?
I believe the BJP will be thrown out from power and there will be a secular alternative at the Centre. The CPI-M is also trying to increase its presence in the Lok Sabha.
We are committed to support anti-communal forces and we will play our role after the elections.
People are aware of the UPA-1 experience, when the Congress and allies ruled the country with the support of the Left in accordance to a CMP (common minimum programme).
In fact, we prevented the Congress's attempts to deviate or violate the CMP.
It is a known fact that the Congress was forced to introduce MGNREGA and the Right to Information Act. I need not explain what happened during the UPA-2 period.
The government got totally embroiled in corruption and aggressively pursued neo-liberal policies. In fact, it paved the way for the BJP to return to power in 2014.
When we discuss about an alternative to the BJP, we should not forget the past experience.
One of the key issues that the BJP highlighted was about the political violence in Kerala. What is your response to this?
As you know, the BJP has a well-oiled machinery to disseminate canards. The campaign on alleged violence is a part of this. Kerala is the most peaceful state in the country.
Kerala has been maintaining the top status as far as law and order issue is concerned.
There might be isolated incidents of violence in some parts of the state, but the government is taking stringent action against all crimes, no matter who the accused is.
A close scrutiny of the situation will reveal the hand of the RSS behind most incidents of violence.