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CPI-M, SNDP spar in Kerala over political leanings

CPI-M, SNDP spar in Kerala over political leanings

Kollam/Kannur: Top leaders of the CPI-M and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a powerful social group of the Hindu Ezhava community in Kerala, exchanged barbs on Sunday about the SNDP general secretary meeting BJP chief Amit Shah.

The sparring between the two sides has been on since SNDP general secretary Velapally Natesan and his team called upon BJP national president Shah in New Delhi along with Kerala BJP leaders last month.

The SNDP, founded by social reformer Sree Narayana Guru in 1903, is often referred to as the representative body of Kerala's Ezhava community.

In the state, Hindus constitute over 50 percent of the 3.25 crore population. In numbers, the Ezhava community is slightly ahead of the Hindu Nair community.

Over the years, even though SNDP has always claimed keeping equidistance from the rival political fronts -- Left and the Congress-led UDF -- in the state, it is common knowledge that a majority often used to throw their support behind the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Democratic Front.

On Sunday, Natesan, speaking at SNDP's general body meeting in Kollam, however, targeted the CPI-M, saying no political party should try to control SNDP.

"Nobody needs to have any thoughts of controlling the SNDP, as it's not a feeder organisation of any political party. The CPI-M thinks that they can deceive by projecting themselves as the saviour of the oppressed. I don't understand why some get restless when the truth is stated," he said.

On his meeting with BJP president Shah in New Delhi, Natesan said BJP is the party that rules the country and SNDP will meet anyone to ensure that the community's interests are safeguarded.

CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, however, maintained that it was the CPI-M that has taken care of majority of the working class in the traditional industries.

"While we took care of the working class, he (Natesan) was looking after the welfare of the businessmen," Balakrishnan told reporters in Kannur district.

"In the best interests of all, the present new-found relationship between the SNDP and the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh) does not augur well. Natesan should not work as a tool for the RSS in its aim to swallow the SNDP. These two can never work together as they have different ideologies," said Balakrishnan.

The CPI-M is jittery because if the new-found relationship between SNDP and the BJP-RSS combine gets going, the biggest loser would be the CPI-M in Kerala, political cognoscenti aver.

"SNDP can decide on the practises that their members should adopt and need not impose political ideologies," said CPI-M central committee member and former state finance minister Thomas Issac.

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