‘Will compromise to deny BJP power,’ says Oommen Chandy

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Rahul Gandhi stated in Wayanad that he would not attack the CPI(M) however severely it savaged him. Would such a position lend credibility to the allegation of the BJP that the CPI(M) and Congress are in collusion in Kerala?

The CPI(M) sees the Congress and not the Bharatiya Janata Party as its primary opponent. The party, in an editorial in their newspaper recently, used the same invective the BJP has institutionalised to revile Mr. Gandhi repeatedly. Mr. Gandhi’s statement reflects his democratic lineage and the distinguished pedigree of tolerance that he embodies. The BJP and the CPI(M) on the other hand practise a brand of politics that is rooted in prejudice and deep animosity towards dissenters.

Does the Congress view the BJP or the CPI(M) as its main opponent in Kerala?

The fight is between the Congress and the BJP. The CPI(M)’s party congress had identified the Congress as its principal opponent and not the BJP. It had decided not to have any truck with the Congress anywhere. Now, the CPI(M) should tell the people whether its real enemy is the BJP or the Congress.

Do you feel vindicated that Mr. Gandhi has finally formalised his candidature in Wayanad, since many had criticised you for declaring it prematurely?

Mr. Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad was the resolution of the Congress, and all senior leaders were on board. It had nothing to do with the preference of any individual.

How do you respond to the allegation of the BJP that the Congress had capitulated to the interests of the IUML by fielding its star campaigner in predominantly Muslim Wayanad?

Mr. Gandhi decided to contest in south India to give a message of inclusiveness to all citizens. South Indians felt that Narendra Modi had given them the short shrift and excluded them from the national narrative. The allegation of minority appeasement reflected the bigoted mindset of the BJP. The Congress does not differentiate between citizens on lines of religion or region.

A report by the amicus curiae appointed by the High Court has suggested that the government could have prevented the floods that ravaged Kerala in August last through careful dam management. Has it come as an unexpected windfall for the Congress during the campaign?

It’s the greatest tragedy of our times, and Congress seeks to make no political capital out of it. But, the fact that the LDF government could have spared lakhs of people of untold misery had it not conserved water in dams for producing power would be a major talking point during the polls.

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