In an apparent rejection of the critical view expressed by veteran leader V S Achuthanandan against taking into the party fold those who followed the Hinduvta ideology for long, CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan welcomed the newcomers by offering them "red garlands" at a public meeting at Panur near here last evening.
BJP leaders rejected the CPI(M)'s claim that thousands had deserted the party.
Vijayan said the development marked the beginning of a radical shift in the politics in the state and he expected more people would come to the Left shedding the Hindutva ideals. He also rubbished the criticism that rolling out a red carpet to the former saffronites would be an insult to the memory of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for resisting the ascendancy of BJP and RSS in the area.
The CPI(M) state committee had earlier this week openly slammed Achuthanandan for making critical remarks against the party's decision to take the BJP rebels into its fold.
Those who joined the CPI(M) included BJP's former district president O K Vasu, who quit following internal squabbles and launched a forum in the name of the party icon Narendra Modi.
They had then blamed the state leadership for neglecting the issues in the district unit. The BJP leaders, however, rejected the CPI(M)'s claim that thousands had deserted the party.
"It is only a few disgruntled people who had left the party and their decision is not going to have any impact on the party's growth in the area," a BJP spokesperson said.