Thiruvananthapuram: Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan seems to have entered the electoral boxing ring stripped of the renaissance garb, and embracing community-oriented political players.
His visit to the home of Vellappally Natesan, SNDP Yogam general secretary and chairman of the government-sponsored Renaissance Values Protection Committee, is set to trigger heated debate about the CPM's strategy of electoral politics. Naturally, the step of hoisting a virtual 'big brother' in Vallappally, from among the constituents that make up the Remaissance campaign platform, has raised eyebrows among those organizations.
The chief minister's visit to Vellappally took place after the last failed attempt to woo NSS, which has been at logger heads with the CPM and the government mainly on the Sabarimala women's entry issue. The renaissance campaign body, which originally consisted of over 100 Hindu outfits, was later expanded incororating minority organizations too. At least some of these bodies had a susicion that the chief minister was using the platform to win favours from the constituents in the backdrop of approaching general election.
The CPM is being seen by some as trying to make the renaissance body a means to win votes, especially in the backdrop of Sabarimala issue where the party had been on the defensive and in the context of Periye twin murder case in which CPM is on the accused side. In that background, the doubting organizatins feel that they will have to make their stand clear, especially when many such constituents have their own defined political lines.
On another level, minority organizations may recall Vellappally's earlier pronouncements more leaning towards Hindutva and against minorities. And at that time, it was Pinarayi Vijayan and VS Achuthanandan who had conducted virulent campaign against Vellappally's anti-minority stances. Vellappally until now has not disowned those utterances either. Further, when a huge amount in grant is approved for a temple whose administration is presided over by Vellappally, a question may arise what is to be granted to other organizations.
It is a latter-day development that Vellappally got endeared to the CPM in the light of the Sabarimala verdict. In spite of being at the head of the renaissance campaign committee, he had in fact opposed the law granting entry for women into Sabarimala, and at one point had even spoken unkindly about activist women who entered the Sabarimala hills.
A factor relevant in the context is that the cases charged against Vellappally-led SNDP's micro-finance transactions, are handled by the state's home ministry under chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. And VS Achuthanandan, who first initiated the action against the scam, has impleaded himself in the case. Any criticism about the chief minister's visit to the house of Vellappally leading to weakening the case, may not be helpful to the government.