A BJP member has been arrested after a CPI(M) worker was stabbed to death post an altercation in Kollam in south Kerala on Sunday night. The ruling state party called it a political murder and alleged that workers of the Bhartiaya Janata Party are behind it. The police, however, say personal issues led to the murder.
Police said CPI(M) worker Manilal, also an owner of a resort, received serious stab wounds and succumbed to his injuries later in the night.
Police said Manilal had a heated argument with a retired Delhi police official P Ashokan, who recently quit the CPI(M) to join the BJP. Police said initially Ashokan, the main accused, was allegedly manhandled by Manilal and others but he later came back and attacked Manilal. Both Ashokan and Manilal are from the same village – Villimangalam.
“It is a well planned and executed murder. BJP and RSS workers are behind it. There is a deliberate attempt to vitiate peace in the state. We hope people will give a befitting reply through ballots to the advocates of hatred and division,” said the CPI(M) acting state secretary A Vijayaraghavan condemning the incident.
The party is observing a shutdown in five villages in Kollam district to protest the killing.
Kollam district president of the BJP BB Gopakumar distanced his party from the killing, saying personal reasons led to the murder.
He said the ruling CPI(M) was giving political colour to routine crimes to get sympathy. He said both men clashed after a drinking session and it was wrong to give a political colour to such incidents.
The state is witnessing a fierce three-cornered contest in local body elections, considered a semi-final before the assembly elections due in April. Stakes are high for all three major players – ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA.)
First phase of the election will be held on December 8, second on 12 and final round on 14. The results will be announced on December 16. In six corporations, four are with the LDF and two in UDF kitty. The LDF rules the majority of municipal and local bodies now.