25/08/2016 11:27 AM IST | Updated 25/08/2016 11:28 AM IST

In Kerala, CPI(M) Launches Festivities In Response To Sangh Parivar's Janmashtami Celebrations

The campaign will continue in more than 5,000 centres till 28 August.

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Janmashtami is being celebrated across India and other parts of the world today. (Photo by Saikat Paul/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), in Kerala launched a campaign yesterday in response to the gala festivities organised by the Sangh Parivar to celebrate Krishan Jayanti on the occasion of Janmashtami, The Indian Express reports.

The CPI(M), which heads the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the state, has organised a five-day-long celebration entitled "Namukku Jathi Illa" (We Have No Caste, We Are One) to mark the birth anniversary of the 19th-century social reformer, Chattambi Swamikal.

According to the PTI, the CPI(M) state secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishan, declared in a Facebook post that cultural processions and conventions would be held in over 5,000 centres till 28 August. The grand scale of the festivities, he said, was meant to usher in a renaissance of progressive ideas that will seek to unite people in the fight against communalism.

Many are of the opinion that such elaborate arrangements have been made by the CPI(M) to dissuade its workers from joining in the Janmashtami celebrations organised by the Sangh. Since parts of Kerala are seething with political tension, police were deployed in Kannur to ensure that the routes of the processions taken out by the Left and the Sangh Parivar did not cross.

While the CPI(M) supporters in Kannur brandished placards with images of the late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, Mahatma Gandhi and social reformer Ayyankali, Balagokulam, a children's outfit backed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had young boys and girls dressed up as Lord Krishna and gopikas dancing to the accompaniment of chendamalem, a traditional percussion instrument.

Last year, the CPI(M) had been derided for making members of its own children's wing, Balasangham, dress up like Lord Krishna and gopikas and participate in a procession to compete with the one taken out by its counterpart in the RSS. There was considerable embarrassment among the Marxists as questions about the party's secular credentials were raised.

The BJP state president, Kummanam Rajasekharan, made a barb at the Left this year too. "It is a welcome gesture that the CPM is celebrating Sri Krishna Jayanti. It is a transformation from Marx to Maharshi," he said to The Indian Express.

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