Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator P Balachandran found himself in hot water after making derogatory comments about Lord Rama on his Facebook account. The Thrissur constituency MLA’s remarks, posted on January 25, triggered a wave of criticism and public outrage.
In his Facebook post, Balachandran alleged that Bhagwan Ram suffered from corns in his feet, implying that it hindered his ability to run fast during the episode of Mareeja disguised as a golden deer. The legislator went further, making controversial statements about Bhagwn Ram, Mata Sita, and Lakshman, suggesting they were consuming porotha (a type of flatbread) and meat curry. He also referenced a toddy shop, insinuating that Lord Rama and Lakshmana visited it to enjoy alcoholic drinks.
Facing swift backlash from various quarters, Balachandran later deleted the controversial post, presumably after realising the gravity of his remarks and the offense they caused to the sentiments of Hindus.
The controversial remarks, made on January 25, led to widespread protests by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and workers in Thrissur district.
As soon as the post appeared on Facebook, BJP leaders, including district president Adv. Aneesh, and other party workers staged strong protests, condemning the insensitive remarks against a revered figure in Hinduism. In response to the growing outrage, Balachandran swiftly deleted the post and issued an apology.
However, BJP leaders asserted that the deletion of the post was insufficient and demanded that Balachandran take responsibility for the alleged blasphemy by resigning as the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) representing Thrissur constituency. The party accused Balachandran of attempting to appease religious fanatics, extremists, and terrorists. BJP state secretary A Nagesh announced their intention to approach the Kerala High Court seeking the MLA’s removal.
Adv. Aneesh took the matter further by lodging a complaint with Thrissur City Police Commissioner, urging legal action against Balachandran. Simultaneously, M Nandakumar, General Convener of the Kerala Chapter of Haindaveeyam Foundation, filed a complaint at Kamalasserry Police Station, Kochi, Ernakulam district.
While facing mounting pressure, Balachandran’s own party, the CPI, distanced itself from the legislator’s comments. CPI Thrissur district secretary K.K. Valsaraj acknowledged that Balachandran had made an error, emphasising that the remarks did not reflect the party’s official stance. Valsaraj affirmed the CPI’s respect for all faiths and religions.
Despite the CPI’s attempt to contain the fallout, the BJP leadership and workers remained resolute in their demands for Balachandran’s resignation. Protests intensified as BJP workers marched to the MLA’s residence, leading to confrontations with the police. Barricades were set up to deter the agitators, resulting in a physical altercation between BJP workers and law enforcement.
The incident is emblematic of a broader trend in Kerala, where Communist leaders have been criticised for insulting Hindu deities. In a similar episode last year, AN Shanseer, a prominent leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPM] and the Speaker of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, disparaged Hindu Bhagwan and rituals, dismissing them as mere myths that hinder societal progress.
Shanseer specifically targeted Bhagwan Ganapaty, belittling the deity’s depiction with an elephant’s head and denouncing the incidents narrated in Hindu Puranas as superstitious. While Shanseer expressed scepticism towards Hindu traditions, observers noted his reluctance to comment on Islam, his religion, or Christianity.
The recent incident involving CPI legislator Balachandran reveals a miscalculation by the Communist party, underestimating the changing atmosphere and the growing support for Hindu nationalist organisations in the state. Balachandran’s prompt apology indicates the realisation of the potential political repercussions ahead of the upcoming elections.