Yogi Adityanath lands in Kerala tomorrow to join the BJP's 15-day foot march.
Yogi Adityanath is yet to land in Kerala -- he arrives tomorrow to join the BJP's 15-day walk or padyatra -- but the state's ruling party CPM is already greeting the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister with barbs.
"Today, we invite UP CM Yogi to visit Kerala hospitals to learn how to run hospitals effectively," tweeted the CPM, which is bristling over BJP chief Amit Shah's attack today on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as he launched his party's yatra.
The reference was to the death of more than 60 children at a hospital over five days in August this year in the UP chief minister's hometown Gorakhpur. Yogi Adityanath's government has severe criticism over how government hospitals were run in the state, including a place that the chief minister has represented for years in Parliament. Yogi Adityanath, who is a priest, also heads the Gorakhnath temple in the heart of Gorakhpur.
The UP chief minister and his party have not reacted.
Yogi Adityanath is the BJP's Hindutva face and an aggressive orator and he is expected to raise the pitch of the party's attack on the CPM-led Left Demoratic Front government of Chief Minister Vijayan. The BJP's yatra, in which its top leaders will relay-walk across the state towards capital Thiruvananthapuram, highlights what the BJP calls the "murder politics" of the Kerala government. The BJP has called it a campaign against "Jihadi-Red terror."
"More than 120 BJP workers have been martyred. What was their fault?" Amit Shah said at a public meeting today as he launched the yatra from Mr Vijayan's home district Kannur.
"CPI(M) leader and Kerala Chief Minister Vijayan is directly responsible for all political murders in Kerala," he added.
The BJP has alleged that since 2001, about 120 of its workers have been killed across Kerala by Left cadres, 14 of them, the party claims, in Kannur since the LDF government came to power in May last year.
The BJP, which has so far been on the margins of Kerala politics, hopes the yatra will pitch it centrestage. Kerala is one of the states where Amit Shah wants his party to mark its presence in a big way in the 2019 general elections. In last year's assembly elections, the BJP had won a single seat. It has never won a Parliament seat.
Mr Shah is focusing on five states where the BJP had never been in power, traveling frequently to them and setting tough targets for party leaders, after the party's resounding victory in a round of assembly elections in March this year. It posted its most spectacular performance in Uttar Pradesh, where Yogi Adityanath was made Chief Minister.