The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday fielded Yogi Adityanath as part of its campaign against the killing of saffron activists allegedly by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist in Kerala, where the firebrand Hindutva leader accused the Left party of promoting 'jihadi terrorism'.
Mounting a blistering attack on the Left, he said it was its nature to 'grab power at gunpoint'.
The saffron-robed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also raked up the contentious issue of 'Love Jihad', accusing the Kerala government of not taking steps to check the 'dangerous trend'.
Leading the 'Jan Raksha Yatra', a day after BJP president Amit Shah launched the party's 15-day campaign for 'people's protection', Adityanath said Kerala occupied an important place in the Sanatan Hindu tradition, and wondered how the 'foreign ideology' of Communism entered the state.
"The CPI-M raises slogans about secularism but promotes jihadi terrorism. Kerala is a holy land where this is unacceptable. Here only the nationalist ideology should be promoted," he told a public meeting, raising the Hindutva pitch while seeking to highlight the killing of BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers.
Adityanath claimed that the God's own country, as Kerala is often called, has been witnessing political violence sponsored by the ruling party.
"It is in the nature of the Left party to grab power at gunpoint," he told PTI.
"There is no scope for violence in democracy, but, unfortunately, Kerala has been witnessing politically-sponsored violence. With this 'yatra', we will make people aware of the CPI-M's misrule," he said.
He said if the CPI-M believes in democracy, it will have to answer questions about the political killings taking place in Kerala.
Later, speaking to the media, he dwelt on 'Love Jihad', a term coined by the Hindu right to flag the issue of Hindu women marrying Muslim men, and called it a dangerous trend.
"Love jihad is a dangerous trend. The Kerala government has not taken effective steps to check it. The Supreme Court has already passed an order on it and the NIA (National Investigation Agency) is investigating it," he said.
He was responding to a question about a case in the Supreme Court involving the marriage of a Muslim man with a Hindu woman who had converted to Islam before tying the nuptial knot.
The apex court had on August 16 directed the NIA to probe whether there was a wider pattern of 'love jihad' in the matter. The couple belongs to Kerala.
Adityanath said CPI-M cadres were playing with the religious system and people's emotions.
The BJP will not allow Kerala to become a land of 'lal salaam', a term used by Communists for greeting each other, he said.
The UP chief minister said a large number of people had lent their support to the BJP's 15-day march.
Adityanath was joined by Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajashekharan in the 7 km march.
Shah, who is on a three-day visit to the state, will take part in a rally in Kannur, the home district of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, on Thursday.
Notwithstanding the presence of a fairly large number of RSS volunteers, the BJP has struggled to expand its influence in the southern state where it has just one MLA.
Shah has often visited Kerala after taking over the reins of the BJP, which has forged an alliance with Bharat Dharma Jana Sena, a political outfit of the Ezhavas, the largest Hindu community in the state, in its effort to expand its footprint.
As many as 120 BJP-RSS workers, 84 in Kannur alone, have been killed in the state since 2001, with 14 of them in the chief minister's home district since he took office last year, the BJP has alleged.