Kerala CM using CAA to woo particular community during polls: Venugopal

The AICC general secretary in-charge of organisation said that no other CPI(M) leader in any other state or even its national leadership has attacked Gandhi except for the Kerala CM.

Alappuzha: Hours after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan attacked the Congress over the CAA issue, AICC general secretary K C Venugopal on Saturday hit back by accusing the Marxist veteran of trying to woo a particular minority community with such tactics during the election time.

Venugopal, who is contesting from the Alappuzha Lok Sabha seat in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, also alleged that Vijayan was repeatedly attacking Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to please the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The AICC general secretary in-charge of organisation said that no other CPI(M) leader in any other state or even its national leadership has attacked Gandhi except for the Kerala CM.

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His remarks to a TV channel came after Vijayan, earlier in the day, criticised the Congress manifesto, saying it failed to address the challenges posed by the communal hindutva politics.

The Marxist veteran, at a press conference here, said that the Congress manifesto maintains a conspicuous silence with regard to the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Vijayan also alleged that the Congress’ stand always aligned with that of the Sangh Parivar.

He has also on several occasions accused Gandhi of being silent on the CAA issue and recently also attacked the Congress MP for the non-display of party and IUML flags during his roadshow in Wayanad on April 3.

Countering the allegations of the CM, Venugopal said that Vijayan needs to first understand that the fight in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is against the BJP.

“The party and Rahul Gandhi are in a constant fight against the BJP and our only concern is to bring down their government at the Centre and bring the Congress-led INDIA bloc into power.

“Here, the CM’s concern is not that. If it was, he would not make such statements. Whenever he speaks, he attacks Rahul Gandhi. None of his party colleagues in the other states do it. So, why is he so opposed to Rahul Gandhi? The only answer to that is — he is trying to please Narendra Modi,” the Congress leader alleged.

Our manifesto says a lot of things, including monetary assistance to women and the youth, and as far as CAA is concerned, we will repeal it if we come to power, Venugopal said.

The AICC general secretary said that Vijayan’s statements on the CAA were not made with the intention of protecting anyone’s citizenship.

“If you look at his recent speeches on the issue, there is only one agenda — to use the CAA to obtain the support of a particular community. He does not talk about welfare measures being delayed or halted in the state or salaries being delayed or rise in prices of essential commodities.

“He needs to understand that this election is for determining who will be in power at the Centre. In these national-level polls, people are clear who should be victorious. Therefore, such tactics by him are not going to help him,” Venugopal, who is facing off against BJP’s Shobha Surendran and CPI(M)’s A M Ariff in the Alappuzha LS constituency, said.

The CAA was passed in December 2019 and subsequently got the President’s assent, but there were protests in several parts of the country against it, with many opposition parties speaking out against the law, calling it “discriminatory”.

For four years since then, the CAA could not be implemented because its rules had not been notified. On March 11, this year, just ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls schedule, the union government notified the CAA rules — which made it a poll issue.

The Act grants citizenship to undocumented migrants of all religions — except Muslims — from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.

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