PK Biju, former Member of Parliament and a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM), has reportedly urged citizens in the state not to turn on their television sets during the Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Rama Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024. He specifically emphasised discouraging children from watching the live telecast of the highly anticipated event. Biju suggested that school teachers and local residents instead show children pictures of the disputed structure rather than allowing them to view the live TV broadcast. Biju made these remarks during the inauguration of the Kerala School Teachers’ Association.
Seising the moment, Biju criticised the National Education Policy (NEP), attributing its introduction to the Union Government’s attempt to ‘saffronise’ the education sector. He further alleged that the actions of Kerala Governor Dr Arif Mohammad Khan were contrary to the interests of the State.
It appears that the CPM and other left-wing members are expressing notable concern about the scheduled Pran Pratishtha on January 22. On this day, the idol of Ram Lalla is set to be consecrated in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Dr. Mohan Bhagawat. Despite rumors suggesting that LK Advani and Dr MM Joshi might not participate in the auspicious program, those speculations were quickly dispelled. Kerala, in alignment with other states, warmly welcomes Ram Bhaktas involved in the door-to-door distribution of Akshata consecrated in the Ayodhya Ram Mandir. People, irrespective of party affiliations and sometimes even religious boundaries, joyfully receive the Akshata with immense devotion and Bhakti.
Naturally, there is a sense of panic within both the CPM and its Left Democratic Front (LDF), as well as the Congress and its United Democratic Front (UDF), perceiving the growing influence of the BJP and Sangh-inspired organisations. The impending parliamentary election further intensifies their concerns. In this context, Biju’s actions can be seen as a strategic move against this backdrop.
PK Biju, who ascended to party leadership from his involvement in Students’ Federation of India (SFI) politics, has recently attracted media attention, albeit for less favorable reasons. One accusation pertains to charging substantial amounts, running into lakhs of rupees, as travel expenses during his tenure as a Syndicate member of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University. According to reports, there is a mismatch between his travel expenses and his place of residence. The Save University Campaign Committee has already filed a complaint with the Vigilance Director regarding this matter. Additionally, Biju is also implicated in another allegation related to the Rs 150 crore scandal within the CPM-controlled Karuvannur Cooperative Bank in Thrissur. This accusation was brought forward by Anil Akkare, a former Congress MLA.
Hence, analysts perceive Biju’s opposition to the Pran Prathishtha as a calculated strategy to divert attention from the mounting allegations against him. Biju adheres to the typical CPM approach of leveling unfounded accusations against political rivals to deflect scrutiny from serious scandals and charges. This tactic has historical roots, dating back to the days of Marxist ideologue EMS Namboodiripad. The CPM often resorts to raising allegations against the Union Government whenever the party itself faces genuine accusations.
During EMS Namboodiripad’s Ministry from 1967 to 1969, the CPM introduced a new slogan – “Agitation (against the center) and rule simultaneously.” In 1968, the CPM-led ruling coalition, with EMS as the Chief Minister, called for a statewide hartal as a protest against the central government. This resulted in a tragic incident where two young college students, Sudhakar Agithaya and Santaram Shenoy, were killed in police firing in Kasaragod. The students, affiliated with the ABVP and Sangh, were returning from a renowned Mandir after darshan. Despite this, the Congress-controlled Kerala Students Union (KSU), the Kerala chapter of NSUI, claimed them as their martyrs.