The spurt in threats from Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, even from places outside Kerala, in the wake of a major move to end the political violence in Kannur district has raised eyebrows in the state.

The latest threat to Pinarayi has come from a little known RSS leader in Madhya Pradesh. While the RSS units in various parts of the country tried only to block the Kerala leader, Kundan Chandrawat who is the RSS saha prachar pramukh (joint publicity chief) at Ujjain, has gone a step further and called for his head.

Holding Pinarayi responsible for the killings of “more than 300 RSS pracharaks and activists” in the state, the RSS leader announced a bounty of Rs 1 crore on his head and promised to “offer a garland of three lakh human skulls to Bharat Mata” in revenge while speaking at a public function in the temple town on Wednesday.

Many believe there was no ground for such a hyperactive reaction at this juncture when both the warring sides had resolved to give peace a chance in the violence-ridden district. There have been no major incidents of violence after the all-party peace meet convened by Vijayan on 14 February who had decided to make sincere efforts to end the three decades-old political hostility between the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Sangh Parivar.

RSS state chief Gopalan Kutty Master was all praise for the efforts made by Pinarayi for restoring peace in Kannur. State BJP general secretary AN Radhakrishnan also felt that the outburst of Chandrawat was uncalled for.

What then prompted the RSS leader to vitiate the atmosphere by making a Taliban-style speech? Political observers see more to the threat than meets the eye. While a section of the analysts view the threat as a clear indication that the Sangh Parivar does not want peace to prevail in Kannur, another smells a conspiracy behind the concerted personal attacks against the chief minister.

“The RSS has grown in Kannur, the cradle of the communist movement in Kerala, by taking on the CPM for more than three decades. RSS leaders think that they can maintain the growth only by encountering the CPM so that there are no incursions into their bastions. Therefore, they don’t want to drop arms until the hard-fought gains are translated into votes," says IV Babu, senior journalist from Kannur.

Even if the parties want peace, the criminals will not allow it since they have reaped huge benefits from the cycle of violence that began in the district in eighties. The criminals promoted by the parties have transformed themselves into mafias and are controlling not only politics but also economic and social spheres, Babu told Firstpost.

Leftist writer and thinker Umesh Babu agrees with him. He said there is a huge infrastructure for criminal activities in the district. Permanent peace in Kannur will not be possible without demolishing this infrastructure. Umesh told Firstpost that he was doubtful whether it will be possible in the near future.

However, he sees a deal behind the onslaught on the chief minister from the RSS outside Kerala. Umesh, who was active in the CPM till 2007, believes that it has got a lot to do with the SNC Lavalin corruption case hanging over Pinarayi’s head. He suspects the hand of the BJP government at the Centre behind the repeated adjournment of the hearing on a revision petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Kerala High Court challenging the CBI court verdict discharging Pinarayi and six others.

“The hearing was adjourned thrice due to the absence of the CBI counsel in the last three months. I firmly believe that the CBI counsel was keeping away from the court because of a tacit understanding between the chief minister and the BJP government. There is every ground to believe that the CBI is giving Pinarayi time to influence the judge,” says Umesh.

The CBI case was that Pinarayi, while serving as electricity minister from May 1996 to October 1998, along with the other accused, hatched a criminal conspiracy to award the contract for the renovation and modernisation of three power plants to SNC-Lavalin at an exorbitant cost resulting in a loss of Rs 273 crores to the state exchequer.

“The case may mar the career of the Marxist leader if the high court orders a re-trial in the case. There is a strong possibility for the same since the Thiruvananthapuram CBI court had discharged him without a hearing of the final CBI report,” says the writer.

Umesh, who was sacked from Purogamana Kalasahitya Sangham (Progressive Artists and Writers Forum), a highly influential body of Marxist writers and thinkers, for his sarcastic comments against certain party leaders alleged that Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was helping him in averting the legal setback.

“The BJP leader is using the RSS to cover up the deal. The personal attack on the chief minister is to show that the BJP is fighting him nationally. Actually, they are not. The recent protests against him fall into a pattern. It is an orchestrated action to save Pinarayi,” says Umesh.

He said that the protests against Pinarayi were spearheaded by little known RSS leaders, who had no knowledge of the ground realities in the state. Protests were mounted against him when he visited Delhi, Bhopal, Bengaluru and Mangalore, where the CPM is not at all a threat to the BJP.

The RSS in Mangalore had observed a hartal and threatened to block Pinarayi when he visited the city for addressing a peace rally for communal harmony organised by the CPM barely 10 days after the all party peace meet in Kannur. When Pinarayi defied the threat with the help of the Congress government in Karnataka, the RSS activists unleashed violence in several parts of the district.

Incidentally, a petition filed in the high court against the frequent postponement of the hearing has also alleged collusion between the lawyers representing the chief minister, the CBI and the central government. The petitioner contends that such postponement was against a Supreme Court ruling that stipulates criminal cases involving ministers and Members of Parliament and Legislature should be decided expeditiously.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 9 March. The CBI court had split the chargesheet in the case, leaving the SNC Lavalin and its representatives based in Canada, and discharged Pinarayi after he submitted that the case going on since 1996 had affected his political career.

Umesh feels that the double play by the BJP government was also evident in the case related to the brutal murder of CPM rebel leader TP Chandrashekharan. He said that the BJP government was sitting on the demand of the slain leader’s widow K Rema for a CBI probe into the conspiracy in the murder despite assurances from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

Rema, who had met both the leaders personally, believes that her husband was eliminated under a conspiracy hatched by senior CPM leaders, including Pinarayi. Chandrashekharan was hacked to death after he floated a parallel movement following his expulsion from CPM for questioning its ideological deviations.

Though 11 persons, including three CPM leaders, have been sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2014 in connection with murder, Rema feels that she will not get justice until those involved in the conspiracy are brought to the book.

Curiously, some of the convicts figure in the list of 1,750 prisoners sought to be released prematurely. Governor P Sathashivam has detained the list by raising several objections against the selection of the prisoners for remission

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