Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath landed in Kerala on Wednesday to bolster Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) campaign to highlight political violence allegedly perpetrated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) but sparked a controversy over the condition of healthcare in the two states.
With deaths of over 70 children at a Gorakhpur hospital still fresh in public memory, Adityanath advised the CPI (M)-led Kerala government to learn from the example of Uttar Pradesh on checking the spread of dengue and chikungunya, when over 300 people have died of dengue in Kerala. "While Uttar Pardesh effectively checked the menace of dengue and chikungunya, the Left party and its government have failed in providing basic necessities to people in the state," Adityanath said.
In New Delhi, CPI (M) chief Sitaram Yechury said it was ironical that Adityanath was asking Kerala to learn from Uttar Pradesh, and that he would do well to visit hospitals and schools in Kerala to enlighten himself and compare the human development indices of the two states.
Yechury termed the campaign a Sangh Parivar tactic to divert attention from Narendra Modi government making a "mess of the economy" and the corruption cases that BJP-RSS leaders in Kerala purportedly find themselves embroiled in. He said discontent was rising against the Modi government. The protests by farmers and labour unions were evidence of this, he said.
Adityanath is one of several BJP leaders set to be in Kerala during the Sangh Parivar's 'Jan Raksha' (protect the people) campaign that is to last until October 17. BJP chief Amit Shah had flagged off the campaign in Kerala on Tuesday. The Delhi unit of the BJP also marched to the CPI (M)'s Delhi office to protest.
Yechury announced that the CPI (M) would hold countrywide protests against the policies of the Modi government on October 9.
Adityanath said that it was the nature of the CPI (M) to grab power at gunpoint. The BJP has claimed that 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 over the reins last year. The CPI (M) has said Kerala police figures show that 85 CPI (M) workers and 65 RSS workers have been killed from 2000 to 2017.
Adityanath was joined by Kerala BJP chief Kummanam Rajashekharan in the seven-kilometre march. BJP chief 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.
Adityanath also accused the CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front government of not taking adequate steps to check a "dangerous trend" like 'love jihad'. Yechury said the BJP-RSS started the political violence. "Why did they threw bombs at Pinarayi Vijayan's victory rally? They had been accumulating arms since the day poll results were declared," he said.
"Countdown has started for (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi. That is why they are using violence and communal hatred as tools to divide people. This had been their methodology for long," Yechury said.