Mr Amit Shah, don’t try your dirty old tricks in Kerala. Keep away.

Context: the former BJP Kerala State President Mr. V. Muraleedharan is contesting from Kazhakoottam assembly constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district.

Problem: Mr Muraleedharan will certainly lose by a large margin to the LDF candidate.

Solution: Unleash violence; spread fear; corner opponents; polarise the electorate and get some extra votes.

Yesterday, Thiruvananthapuram saw a major effort by the BJP and RSS to turn the city into a war-zone. The facts are the following.

In 2014, there was a draft master plan (Plan 2031) floated for the development of Thiruvananthapuram city  corporation. In many parts of the city, such as Kattayikkonam and Attipra, there were major protests from citizens, who argued that the plan was aimed at helping the land mafia at the cost of common people. Thus, the draft master plan was withdrawn.

In February 2016, the UDF government in Kerala, hand-in-glove that they are always with the land mafia, proposed to revive the master plan with some modifications. However, the city corporation, led by the LDF, sought a number of clarifications from the government. No answers have been received yet.

In the meantime, on the 19th of February 2016, the Urban Affairs department of the UDF government released an order that allowed land use for residential houses, industrial and commercial complexes and other permissible projects as per the draft master plan. This created a lot of confusion as the local body could not identify if the order was for lifting the ban on the controversial master plan or the one modified by the local body recently. The governing council of corporation wanted the new draft to be discussed at the ward levels before finalising the master plan. It has called for a special council meeting on March 19 to discuss the issue.

The question to the UDF government is simple: why are you, when the assembly elections are just 2 months away, pushing a master plan, which had led to huge protests from the people? Squarely, it is the UDF government that is in the dock for bowing to the wishes of the land mafia in the city. The LDF undertook a huge protest march to the state secretariat protesting against this act of the UDF government.

The BJP, which was nowhere in the picture till now, suddenly emerged on the scene. Trying to fish in muddy waters, the BJP absolved the UDF government and turned its attack on the city corporation led by the LDF and its young mayor V. K. Prashant. With the silent approval of the local Congress MLA, BJP workers led by Mr. Muraleedharan held a protest in which they put the blame on the mayor and burned the mayor’s effigy. As if this was not enough, a large gang of criminals, including RSS workers brought in from outside the district, unleashed violence on the local people soon after the protest. Mr Muraleedharan personally lead and monitored this attack. 

RSS criminals with swords, axes and knives continued violence from Monday evening till early Tuesday morning. The office of the CPI(M) Aniyoor branch was burnt down. The local leader of the DYFI, Comrade Surjeet, was seriously injured in this attack. He is in the ICU at a hospital currently. A large number of shops in the local market were ransacked. 

When the police arrived, the gang turned against the police. Six police vehicles were stoned and damaged. The policemen abandoned their vehicles and ran for cover. The glass pane of the official vehicle of Attingal DYSP Mr Sudheer was smashed. Another DYSP, Mr Chandrasekharan, was injured in the attack.

The argument of the BJP that Mr Muraleedharan was injured in a plain lie. A number of TV channels have shown footages of Mr Muraleedharan sitting coolly in the hospital hours after the alleged incident.

Meantime, the mayor V. K. Prashant and LDF corporation councilors were protesting at the Chief Minister’s office demanding a freeze on the master plan order. Obviously, the BJP and RSS were not anywhere near, as their real intention was not to ensure that the order was withdrawn. Prashant ensured that he and his councilors blockaded the Chief Minister’s office for over five hours. They returned only after the UDF government released a new order that froze the earlier master plan order. The LDF was, thus, able to comprehensively defeat the unholy alliance between the UDF government and the land mafia in the city. 

The people of Thiruvananthapuram have rebuffed the threats of the BJP and RSS. Secular Kerala will not allow the BJP and RSS to destroy its peaceful calm.