Sunday, May 3, 2020

colourful easel from PBJArt studio

Sunday, September 22, 2019

My column in Afternoon Dispatch and Courier

Is Nitish Kumar distancing himself from BJP-led NDA before 2019

Saturday, July 07, 2018
By Prakash Bal Joshi
Telegu Desam Party (TDP) chief who heads Andhra Pradesh government ever since the state was formed, Chandrababu Naidu, one of the maverick politicians on the horizon has completely distanced himself from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Another maverick politician on the horizon who is known to adjust his moves according to changing political climate is Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. Now the question being discussed in corridors of power is whether he is also distancing away from the BJP-led NDA in Delhi. This is not for the first time that such a talk is being held about Nitish Kumar.

He was brain behind Mahagathbandhan, he patched up with one-time-sworn enemy Lalu Prasad Yadav to trounce BJP in year 2015. He realised climate is changing so there was talk of Nitish changing sides and in 2017, he returned back to NDA, leaving the Mahagathbandhan. That is past, now political climate is changing or perceived changing that regional satraps are alert all the time and adjusting themselves to their regional friends and enemies on the basis of changing climate in Delhi. Ultimately one can remain oblivious to what is happening in Delhi and adjust so as toremain floating in the quicksand of power politics. It is easier said than done and one appreciates the remarkable ability of these mavericks to change accordingly without thinking too much about moral values and the question, “What will people think?”.

The truth about vote banks
In murky power politics one has to take a decision and later give logic to defend your move. The vote banks follow you and your logic or rather that is why these group of supporters are described as vote banks.

The developments in Uttar Pradesh where two sworn enemies, Mayavati of BSP and Akhilesh Yadav of SP have joined hands together giving touch time to the BJP, the media had started taking less note of Nitish Kumar for quite some time. However, Nitish is remaining uncertain about the NDA once again, the questions being asked about possibilities of Nitish Kumar returning back to Mahagathbandhan began making rounds. The question is whether he will really desert the NDA in favour of the Mahagathbandhan and give a last push to the opposition unity needs for year 2019 or remain steadfast in the NDA and take on Mahagathbandhan.

The BJP as well as the Congress and RJD are on watch along with other regional satraps like Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Mayavati, as Nitish is not going to come back to the opposition front without having his own agenda. But the question is will he be welcomed with open arms by the rivals within the opposition front.

It has not happened suddenly that people are talking about such possibility of U turn by Nitish Kumar. The JD(U) leaders and workers have been crying over the Big brother attitude adopted by local BJP leaders in the state. All the talk of returning back to the Mahagathbandhan may be a ruse by the JD(U) to put pressure on the BJP and seek more seats for the year 2019 and increase its bargaining power in post 2019 general elections. There is already demand from local JD(U) leaders to get minimum 25 Lok Sabha seats out of 40 from Bihar to continue their alliance with the NDA. The party claims that the climate in the state has changed in recent times and they have to have upper hand in deciding fate of seats in Bihar. They do not bother to remember that they had won only two seats in the 2014 elections. The party demands allocation of seats right now even though elections are in year 2019, so that the party can decide on who should contest which seat and accordingly prepare campaign programme. The JD(U) is using 2015 performance as the base for allocation of Lok Sabha tickets and not the year 2014 making it difficult for the BJP to decide.

Even though it is going to be general election for the Lok Sabha the Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to be star campaigner not only for the BJP candidates but also for candidates from NDA alliance parties. The idea is to take advantage of Modi’s national image. In Bihar, the JD(U) wants Nitish Kumar to be on front along with Narendra Modi during the campaign to win over voters. While talking all these issues, the whispering campaign about possibility of Nitish Kumar switching sides is making regular rounds putting the BJP on tenterhooks.

The BJP knows that it is not merely kite flying about Nitish as he himself is sending some indications of rethink or may be using these signs to put pressure on the BJP for better deal in general elections. It may be a mere courtesy call by Nitish Kumar to his sworn enemy Lalu Prasad Yadav who was in hospital but it started the discussion. The Congress is not openly saying anything about such possibility as it does not have much stake in the state as well as it does not want to vitiate the atmosphere among all the parties trying for a grand alliance against the BJP for 2019. However, that has not stopped it from having a line open with the party in power in Bihar to find out whether Nitish is any way interested in anti-BJP front since the NDA government has failed on so many fronts and the Modi charisma may not be so effective.

However, Nitish also knows that it is not going to be so simple to just switch off from the NDA and open a new line with the Mahagathbandhan as his enemies would not like him to join it. As expected, Tejashwi Yadav has already ruled out any possibility of the Mahagathbandhan welcoming Nitish Kumar with open arms since he himself is gaining support and showing his ability to win over voters. He can display his political acumen by showing Araria and Jokihat victories to claim real leader in Bihar politics.

Nitish not in a hurry at all
Nitish seems to be not in hurry at all. He would rather wait and see what BJP’s response is and also see what is happening to the Mahagathbandhan as the elections to the Lok Sabha approaches nearer. He knows very well that the Congress as well as other major anti-BJP parties will like him to join their ranks and if they decide then there is no chance the RJD leaders Lalu and Tejashwi will oppose his moves. They would need some face saver to pardon Nitish for his joining the NDA in first place. It would not have any impact on the voters’ behaviour but it will certainly have a dent in the image of Nitish Kumar.

In days of alliance politics, the regional satraps have fine-tuned their own strategies to gain from the uncertainties of shifting alliances of voters fractured mandates. As seen in Karnataka, those who fought against each other have come together to form the alliance government. In Maharashtra way back in 1999, the Congress and the Pawar-led NCP had come together to form the government in the state to keep the saffron front of BJP and Shiv Sena away from the power.

It is not easy and fast for Nitish Kumar to take steps towards Mahagathbandhan before considering many factors as any wrong step at this juncture will be disastrous for his kind of politics.

Mumbai Art Fair2018

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Monday, October 23, 2017

अभिजात अनुभूतीदेणारे रेषा आणि रंग

प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांचे
अभिजात अनुभूतीदेणारे  रेषा आणि रंग

Links with Life acrylic on canvas (in the private collection ) 

अनिल किणीकर

प्रकाश बाळ जोशी हे महाराष्ट्रातील शब्द कलावंत – केवळ पत्रकाराच नव्हे तर कवी, कथाकार आणि आघाडीचे चित्रकार असा त्यांचा मोठा प्रवास आहे. गेली अनेक वर्षे त्यांच्या पेंटिंग्जची प्रदर्शन मुंबई बंगलोर, पुणे, मिनीआपोलिस,  लास वेगास (अमेरिका), बाझेल (स्वित्झर्लंड)  क्रोएशिया , नॉर्वे , इस्मीर ( तुर्कस्तान ), लिस्बन (पोर्तुगाल) , थीम्पू (भूतान) अशा अनेक ठिकाणी भरलेली आहेत. त्यांच्या चित्रांचे प्रदर्शन शिकॅगो येथे जानेवारी २०१४ मध्ये  भरत आहे त्यानिमित्ताने त्यांच्या चित्रकलेचा आणि एकंदरच व्यक्तिमत्वाचा घेतलेला हा लहानसा आढावा.
प्रकाश बाळ जोशी . शब्दां वर प्रभुत्व . टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया मध्ये २५ वर्षे पत्रकार. मराठी इंग्रजी कथा लेखन. चित्रकला आणि पेंटिंग्ज द्वारे स्वतः चे विचार , विश्लेषण आणि व्यक्तिमत्व प्रगट करीत आहेत. गेली पन्नास वर्षे सतत रेषा आणि रंगाचा रियाझ केल्यावर गेली १२ वर्षे स्वताःचे काम लोकांपुढे मांडत आहेत. लहानपणापासूनच पारंपारिक चित्र काढण्याऐवजी जसे जाणवेल तसे रेखाटन करण्याकडे कल .
त्यांच्या पेंटिंग मध्ये निसर्गातील दृश्य , पानं , फुले, झाड , डोंगर-नद्या, चंद्र-सूर्य किंवा पक्षी प्राणी ही प्रतीकात्मक पद्धतीने काढली आढळतात . जे निसर्गाबाबत तेच माणसांच्या आकृती बाबत . त्यांची  काहीशी आधुनिक (modern) -   अमुर्त-शैलीशी(abstract)  मिळती जुळती शैली आहे. म्हणजे विषय मांडण्या पेक्षा आशय मांडण्याकडे जास्त कल आहे.
शब्द आणि रेषा दोन्हीचे आकर्षण असल्यामुळे पत्रकारिता करीत करीत त्याच वेळी आजूबाजूच्या वातावरणाचे चित्रीकरण , स्केचेस ही करीत राहील्या मुळे शब्द आणि रेषा दोन्हीचा रियाझ एकाच वेळी चालू राहिला. ते स्वतः मितभाषी आहेत. स्वताहून स्वतःविषयी काही नबोलणे  हा त्यांचा  स्वभाव आहे.
त्यामुळे त्यांच्या चित्रकलेविषयी फारच कमी जणांना त्याची माहिती होती. मुंबईतील आर्टिस्ट सेंटर येथे  भरलेल्या पहिल्या प्रदर्शनाला फारच छान प्रतिसाद मिळाला. त्यात सहकाऱ्यांना, परिचितांना,  कलाप्रेमींना आश्चर्य आणि उत्सुकता होती. वन लाईन स्केच म्हणजे अखंड रेषेतून त्यांनी जगण्यातले अनेक विषय अर्थ पूर्ण शैलीत व्यक्त केले होते. . एकूण विश्वाचा प्रवाह अखंड चालू असतो. पण अशा काही अनाकलनीय अनपेक्षीत अविश्वसनीय घटना घटतात की त्यात्यून अनेक प्रश्न निर्माण होतात सृष्टीची आणि प्राणी सृष्टीची घडी विस्कटून जाते. माणूस सैरभैर होतो कोणाही कलावंत अशा घडमोडीपासून अलिप्त राहू शकत नाही. परिणामी प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांच्या सारखे कलावंत अस्वस्थ होतात , त्यांना शब्द अपुरे वाटू लागतात आणि म्हणूंच ते रेषा आणि रंगांकडे वळतात. "गेटवे " या प्रदर्शनाला याच मुळे जाणकार ,विचारवंत आणि कलाकारांचाही चांगला प्रतिसाद मिळाला.

प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांच्या ओईल पेटिंग चे विषयही सुरवातीपासूनच अपारंपारिक. त्यांनी लान्द्स्केप ( landscape painting ) पेंटिंग केली ती काही एका विचाराने.  लान्द्स्केप म्हटली की नेहमी डोळ्यासमोर उभी राहतात निसर्ग चित्रे. विलोभनीय मन हरखून टाकणारी  निसर्गाची , निसर्गातील सौंदर्याची डोंगर-नदी समुद्र-आकाश सूर्योदय-सूर्यास्त ग्रामीण वास्तव झाडे-प्राणी मानव  यांचे चित्रण. पण प्रकाश यांची चित्रे एक विचार सांगणारी, विचार करायला लावणारी आणि अंतर्मुख व्हायला लावणारी आहेत.  ओईल पेंट मधील ही पेंटिंग्ज ही २१ व्या शतकातील माणसाचा प्रवास , पृथ्वी-निसर्ग-मानव यांच्यातील परस्पर संबंध व जीवनाशी निगडीत दैन्दंदिन जगण्याशी संबंधित आहेत. पर्यावरण , पर्यावरणाचा नाश , हे विषय घेऊन एकंदरच अस्थित्वाचा प्रश्न मांडण्याचा प्रभावशाली प्रयत्न आहे.
पर्यावरणाचा ऱ्हास त्याचे वास्तव चित्रण, विदारक सत्य स्वीकारणारी त्यांची अस्थित्वाची भाषा , त्यांचे समग्र दर्शन शोधण्याचा ध्यास या पेंटिंग मागे दिसून येतो. आजचे अनेक प्रश्न अक्राळ विक्राळ स्वरूप घेऊन उभे असले , जागतिकीकरणाची प्रक्रिया त्यात भर घालीत असली तरी मुलभूत प्रश्नांना आपल्या दृश्य कलेत वेगळ्या पद्धतीने मांडणी करण्याचा प्रयत्न प्रकाश बाळ जोशी करतात. कलावंताला असणारे अध्यात्मिक आणि सामाजिक भान या पेंटिंग मधून प्रत्ययाला येते.
नदी आणि हरवणाऱ्या नद्या हा प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांचा सतत चिंतनाचा विषय. लहानपणी ते स्वतः मुंबई जवळील सूर्या  नदीत बुडण्याचा प्रसंग आला होता त्याचे खोल वर परिणाम त्याच्या भावविश्वावर झालेले दिसून येतात आणि त्याचे चित्रण त्यांच्या पेंटिंग मध्ये मधून मधून दिसून येते. पाण्याचा प्रचंड उपसा , औद्योगीकीकरण , प्रदूषण या मुळे अनेक नद्यांचे अस्तित्वच धोक्यात आले आहे. या नद्या गायब होण्याचा मानवनिर्मित प्रश्न ओईल पेंटिंग मधून व्यक्त होतो. पर्यावरणाचा ऱ्हास आणि त्यामुळे झाडे-पक्षी , चंद्र-सूर्य हे घटकही प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांच्या पेंटिंग मधून गायब झालेले दिसतात आणि त्यांची जागा अव्यक्त गुढ अशा अवकाशाने व्यापलेली दिसते.

 Mindscape 4 acrylic on canvas 

कोणत्याही कलावंताला आहे ते माध्यम अपुरे वाटते आणि तो वेग वेगळ्या मार्गाने वेग वेगळी माध्यमे वापरून अभिव्यक्ती करीत असतो. या अपुरे पणांची एक अस्वस्थता असते आणि तीच कलाकाराला प्रयोग करायला भाग पडते. अशाच एका टप्प्यावर , शब्दां बरोबरच रंग आणि रेषा प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांना खुणावू लागल्या आणि त्यांनी चित्रकला पेंटिंग याचे कोणतेही औपचारिक शिक्षण घेतलेले नसतांना आरा आणि यशवंत चौधरी या सारख्या नावाजलेल्या कलाकारांच्या संगतीत मोठ्या कॅनवास चे आव्हान  स्वीकारले आणि आपल्या अभिव्यक्तीला एक नवी वाट करून दिली . मोठ्या आकाराचा कॅनवास आणि ओईल पेंट ही दोन्ही अवघड आव्हाने स्वीकारत त्यांनी एक नवीन अविष्कार स्वातंत्र्य मिळविले आणि अभिव्यक्तीची कक्षा विस्तारली.
बदलत्या काळाच्या ओघात निसर्गातही परिवर्तन होत असते. डोंगरांच्या रचना , नद्यांचे प्रवाह जमिनीचे प्रकार, जंगलाचे स्वरूप , पशु पक्षांचे ,मानवाचे होणारे नित्य स्थलांतर नवीन जीवन घडवीत असतात. हे बदल संवेदनशील कलाकार टिपत असतो. नोंद करीत असतो. सरस्वती नदीचे अंतर्धान पावणे हा एक विषय घेऊन प्रकाश बाळ जोशी काम करीत आहेत. लुप्त झालेली नदी, तिचे त्या संदर्भातील पौराणिक, ऐतिहासिक, सामाजिक, धार्मिक अशी विविध अंगे लक्षात घेऊन त्यावर प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांचे काम चालू आहे.

कोणत्याही कलाकृतीचे अंतर्मुख होणे हे त्या  कलेच्या अभिजाततेचे अपरिहार्य लक्षण  असते. प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांची कलाकृती ही संवेदनशील प्रेक्षकाला कला रसिकाला अंतर्मुख करायला लावते आणि जे समोर दिसते त्याच्या पलीकडील शाश्वत सत्याचा विचार करायला लावते – अस्वथ करते. त्यांच्या पेंटिंग ची शीर्षके देखील विचारप्रवर्तक असतात – कला रसिकाला समोरच्या अमूर्त चित्राकडे कसे बघावे याचे किंचित मार्गदर्शन करणारे असतात. जसे – व्हानीशिंग रिवर (vanishing river) , टोटल लोस (total loss) , मेल्टिंग लाव्हा (melting lava)  ,  सिम्फोनी ऑफ चेंज (symphony of change) .
अशा पेंटिंग मधून एखादीही माणसाची एखादीही भासमय आकृती ( figure ) नाही , तरीही माणसाच्या मनातील आंदोलने संघर्ष आणि अस्थित्व भान ते ताकदीने उभे करतात. त्यांच्या प्रत्येक पेंटिंग मधून हे जाणवत असत. स्त्री पुरूष ही प्रतीकृपण म्हणून सुद्धा आली की संकल्पनांची पन्नास टक्के गृहीतिका आपोआपच येतात आणि निखळ मनांन पेंटिंग बघण  काहीस मर्यादित होत. निसर्ग प्रमाणेच आपल्या पेंटिंग मध्येही निखळता असावी असा  त्यांचा कायम कटाक्ष दिसतो.
स्त्री आणि पुरूष हे निसर्गाचीच प्रतीके आहेत . प्रतीका  ऐवजी मूळ स्र्त्रोता  कडे म्हणजे विश्वारुपाकडे रंग आणि ब्रश वळलेले दिसतात. प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांच्या  पेंटिंग चे मोठे सामर्थ्य म्हणजे या पेंटिंग मधून पंचमहाभूतांचे अव्यक्त असं वेगळा स्वरूप अनुभवायला मिळत. ब्राम्हनंदाची अवस्था सुख-दुख आनंद –वेदना  आहे-नाही या दैद्वातुंनच अदैत्वाकडे नेणारा हा प्रयत्न आहे.
खरतर एका माध्यमातून दुसऱ्या माध्यमात जाणे हा खडतर आणि अवघड प्रवास आहे. वृत्तपत्रातील असंख्य शब्दांच्या जंजाळातून आपली संवेदनशीलता टिकवून ठेवणे अवघड काम त्यातून पुढे रंग आणि रेषा यांच्या सहायाने काम करणे अधिक गुंतागुंतीचे काम. अशी माध्यमे बदलणारे आणि आव्हान पेलणारे जे कमी कलाकार आहेत त्यातील प्रकाश बाळ जोशी हे एक आहेत.
गेली चार दशक प्रकाश बाळ जोशी मुंबई महानगरीत राहत आहेत आणि त्यातील गल्ली बोळापासून ते  पसरत्या उपनगरां पर्यंत मुंबई शहर त्यांनी फिरून पाहिलेल आहे . महानगरीतील मयसभेचे लोभसवाणे बदलते स्वरूप आणि लहानमोठ्या सर्वावर गारुड घालणारे बॉलिवूड. महानगरात येणाऱ्या प्रत्येकाचे एक स्वप्न आणि भयाण वास्तव , होणारी घुसमट, दाहक , प्रखर आणि काहीस आश्वासन देणार शहर त्यांच्या रेखाटनातून दिसते.
प्रकाश बाळ जोशी यांची पेंटिंग पाहतांना मला जगप्रसिद्ध कलंदर कलाकार स्ल्वोदोर डाली यांचे एक वाक्य आठवते ----
रंग आणि शब्द हे नेहमीच अव्यक्तातून व्यक्त होत असतात.
अनिल किणीकर हे लिटील मागेझीन चळवळीतील आघाडीचे संपादक आणि लेखक

Monday, October 9, 2017

inner impressions of Prakash Bal Joshi: BJP CPM clash in the land of God

BJP CPM clash in the land of God

BJP, CPM locked in war of words over political violence in Kerala

Saturday, October 07, 2017
Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat in power struggle to gain control of the CPM

Kerala has become another flash point of clashes between Bharatiya Janata Party and left parties ruling the southern state known as God’s own country. The BJP has accused the left parties in Kerala of playing the violence card to terrorise people to keep them under the left influence.

As a part of larger strategy, the BJP pushed in Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Kerala to lambast the CPM government in Kerala for pursuing a policy of political killings against its rivals. For a parliamentary democracy to survive and strengthen, no political party can support violence on political grounds. Unfortunately, political violence in Kerala and other parts of the country has increased in recent times.

The CPM which lost West Bengal to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress is itself facing lots of organisational troubles due to the power struggle between Sitaram Yechury and Prakash Karat. The party is divided into two groups one led by Sitaram Yechury seeking tie up with secular parties led by the Congress while Prakash Karat and Kerala unit oppose the move. The debate is on within the party over  the next political move to remain relevant in the electoral battle during the run up to the 2019 general elections for the Lok Sabha.

CPM facing heat from BJP
The CPM is facing heat from the BJP which has been engaged in heated debate over political violence blaming the left parties for giving legitimacy to violence in day-today politics in left ruled states. The BJP   has launched a spirited campaign against the CPM government for creating trouble and supporting the violence by CPM cadre against the RSS activists in the Kerala.  BJP president Amit Shah who launched his rally from Payyanur, a Left stronghold and the chief minister's home district alleged that Kerala chief minister Vijayan had "blood on his hands." The BJP has been blaming CPM for violence in the state resulting in deaths of 120 RSS workers in the state since 2001.   The BJP has declared a list of RSS workers who had been killed during CPM regime in the state. Union minister Prakash Javadekar has announced a plan of sending all important BJP functionaries to Kerala to focus on left-wing violence and its fight against communist ideology.

The CPM hit back with vengeance saying, "Amit Shah is trying to create riots in Kerala by raising non-issues like violence against RSS cadres. The Padayatra is aimed towards  deliberately inciting violence against CPM leaders. The CPM tweeted,” Kerala government will resist any attempt to spread terrorism in the state in the name of any religion."

Amit Shah has started the debate over rate of political violence in Kerala by undertaking the Janaraksha Yatra. He asserted that there is no scope for political violence in a democracy, criticising the CPM state government for failure to provide safety and security to the life and property of people. His observation proved hard hitting against the chief minister when pointed out that the highest incidence of political violence is in the Kerala chief minister’s home town which reported killings of 14 RSS workers.

Perhaps, Adityanath is first UP chief minister who has become a BJP mascot in trouble torn Kerala. His yatra also received good response where he lashed out against the Kerala government asking it act strictly against the ‘love jihad’ describing it as a “serious development” in Kerala and Karnataka.   Amit Shah’s   Janaraksha Yatra’s theme was “Against Jihadi and Red Terror”. 

Though the CPM is still discussing whether to join hands with the Congress for its fight against the saffron forces in the country, former Congress chief minister Oommen Chandy supported the CPM campaign against the BJP yatras saying that Amit Shah and the RSS are attacking Kerala government based on some isolated incidents. He asserted that Kerala is against all divisive forces and there will be a united front of all parties to defend the pride of the Kerala state.

 The fight in Kerala is having reverberations in Delhi with both the parties discussing it in national capital making it more important issue. No doubt political violence by political parties is an issue which is not simple due to its ramification. It cannot be equated on par with violence by terrorists’ outfits but none the less, it has to be fought with all the strength all these parties have since it hits at the very base of the parliamentary democratic system of governance. If attacking each other becomes a routine and part of political culture, then it will not end with an end of a regime as it will continue further.

There is no end to the war of words between the CPM and RSS-BJP leaders accusing each other of inciting violent political clashes and spreading disharmony. Kerala is being singled out to make their point.

Both the parties are accusing each other of starting culture of violence in Kerala by attacking party workers. The BJP has been organising rallies and meetings of its senior central leaders during last couple of months to boost the morale of the party workers who are facing attacks from CPM cadre. 
In September, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat alleged that the governments of West Bengal and Kerala are sheltering jihadi elements which are creating violence in these states. He wanted the state governments to take action against these anti-national elements to protect common citizens and their properties.

CM Vijayan attacks RSS chief Bhagwat
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan attacked RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, saying that Keralites did not need any advice on nationalism from those who did not participate in the freedom struggle. He lamented that the RSS considers religious minorities as internal threat to the stability of the country.
Javadekar given a new dimension to the debate between the CPM and the BJP saying that the CPM now does not stand for Marxist but it has become Maoist and using violence as a political tool. Kerala CM has condemned Javadekar’s statement saying it was irresponsible to call it Maoist when the CPM government had come to power through proper democratic procedure. There is no end to statistics being produced by the CPM as well as the BJP to paint other as more aggressive party indulging in violence. According to CPM factsheet, since 2000 to 2017, Kerala police figures show that 85 CPM workers and 65 RSS workers were killed. The very first day of the electoral victory of LDF in Kerala, murder of CPI(M) worker Ravindranath took place while he was participating in the victory procession of CM Vijayan in his home constituency.

There seems to be no end to the ongoing war of words between the CPM and the BJP. Both accuse each other of provoking violence and killing each other’s active workers. The atmosphere is quite surcharged with the expectations of a close fight in coming elections. Much will actually depend on what stand the CPM takes ultimately over having a pre-poll alliance with secular parties. Basically, it revolves round the Congress Party and the left party has to decide whether to join the secular front being envisaged by the Congress or chart out its own course. That is real fight between two CPM stalwarts Sitaram Yechury and PrakashKarat.

If they decide to join hands with the Congress to bring in more unity among anti-BJP front, then it will be difficult for the BJP in Kerala. Otherwise, division of secular votes will pave way for the BJP to create strong base in Kerala.