Will never join BJP, Rahul’s decision to contest from Kerala hurt Cong: Chacko

He says he has always cherished the Left ideology and that the Congress has been the largest secular party in India and the BJP, the biggest enemy of secularism

PC Chacko is a former member of Parliament from Kerala. He says his fear that Rahul Gandhi contesting from Wayanad would adversely affect the Congress' poll prospects in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections came true.

Senior Congress leader and former member of Parliament from Kerala P C Chacko, who jolted the party by announcing his resignation on Wednesday (March 10), said he will never join the BJP and that the Left was his only option.

He has always cherished the Left ideology, which is discernible in his political life, he told The Federal. “In the 1980s, it was my and A K Antony’s meeting with EMS Namboodirippadu that resulted in the formation of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala. The idea of a political front against a Congress-led alliance was mooted in the discussion between us,” he said.

Also read: Rebellion in Rahul’s Kerala constituency; 4 Congress leaders quit

“Since then, I have always leaned towards the Left ideology, although I have often had differences with the way the Left parties have functioned. For me, the Congress has been the largest secular party in India and the BJP, the biggest enemy. There is no question of me joining the BJP,” he said.

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He said Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad in the 2019 Lok Sabha election was a mistake. “As soon as I got to know about his decision to contest in

Wayanad, I went to his residence and talked to him. I told him that Left should be an ally of the Congress in the national scenario and Rahul’s candidature in Wayanad would have an adverse impact on the poll results. Rahul told me that he wanted to have a seat somewhere in south India. I advised him Karnataka would be a better option. Ever since Jawaharlal Nehru’s period, the Left parties have been a friend of the Congress, not an enemy. Had Rahul contested from somewhere in Karnataka, the fight against the BJP would have been stronger. Left should not have been our enemy.”

Chacko said on his advice, Rahul put off a decision for a few days but later yielded to pressure from the Congress leaders in Kerala. He thinks his intervention caused displeasure among Congress leaders in the state. 

According to Chacko, his fears that Rahul contesting from Wayanad would have an adverse impact on the poll prospects of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections came true. “Even though the Congress achieved a landslide victory in Kerala, the party had to pay a very heavy price in north India. Rahul’s candidature from Wayanad was the major reason for the Congress’s debacle in north India. The NDA used this opportunity to create communal polarisation. The flag of Muslim League (an ally of the Congress in Kerala) was used by the BJP to polarise Hindu voters in the northern states. BJP leaders like Smrithi Irani openly campaigned that Rahul had fled UP fearing the Hindus.”

Also read: Kerala’s alternating ‘poll current’ trend keeps fronts on tenterhook

Chacko said he has no immediate plan to join any party and that he is not looking for a ticket in the upcoming assembly election. “If I had had such plans, I would have gone back to the NCP and taken its leadership. I could have easily joined the LDF, too, but I did not have any such intention.” 

Chacko said he has been receiving calls from Left leaders ever since he announced his resignation from the Congress.

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