The Congress is not interested in opposing the Bharatiya Janata Party ideologically or politically because it has “degenerated itself into a B-team of the BJP”, said Kerala Chief Minister and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday, reported The Hindu.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Congress are partners in the Opposition INDIA bloc that is taking on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the Lok Sabha elections. However, they are contesting the polls alone in Kerala.

Tensions emerged within the bloc after the state-level Congress-led United Democratic Front renominated Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi from the seat against the Left Democratic Front candidate Annie Raja.

The Left Democratic Front of left-wing political parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist), is the ruling alliance in Kerala.

Speaking with media persons on Thursday, the Kerala chief minister said the Congress’ rivalry with the BJP is “primarily confined to electoral politics and power struggles, rather than rooted in substantive ideological differences”, reported The Times of India.

“Consequently, the Congress has evolved into a party primarily focused on gaining traction within the realm of power politics,” Vijayan said.

The chief minister said that he was criticising the Congress as the party was not genuine in its attack on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organisation of the BJP, and its Hindutva ideology. According to him, the Congress had started to accept the agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

“Why does the Congress manifesto have no mention of the Citizenship Amendment Act?” Vijayan was quoted as saying by The Hindu. “Why does it ignore the abrogation of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir?”

The chief minister also criticised the Congress for fielding Chaudhary Lal Singh from the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir, reported PTI.

Singh was one of the ministers who had resigned from the Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet in April 2018 after attending a rally in support of the accused in the rape and murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua.

On Thursday, Vijayan alleged that Gandhi had welcomed Singh into the Congress during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which showed that the party was “not taking a strong stand against the Sangh Parivar”.

Singh, who had switched to the BJP in 2014, rejoined the Congress in March.

Vijayan had criticised Gandhi for not speaking about the Citizenship Amendment Act on Wednesday as well.

Rahul Gandhi has a major complaint that in Kerala, we keep speaking about him alone,” the chief minister was quoted as saying by India Today. “You took out a yatra [rally], right? During that yatra, you spoke about all national and international issues. Did you speak about CAA? Did you have any opinion about this?”

The chief minister added: “People thought you would speak on it [CAA] during the closing ceremony of that program. It did not happen. The last hope was that he would speak about it in Wayanad when he came to file his nomination. Did he say anything? What is stopping you?”

On Monday, during a rally in Kozhikode, Gandhi had questioned why Vijayan was not criticising the BJP or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in his speeches instead of attacking him constantly, reported The News Minute.

He also said, in response to Vijayan’s criticism, that the Congress would never back citizenship on the basis of caste or religion, according to The Hindu.

On April 2, Vijayan said that Gandhi had come to Kerala to fight against the Left Democratic Alliance.

“What is the meaning of this?” asked the Kerala chief minister. “Rahul Gandhi is the main leader of the INDIA bloc and is fighting against the Left Democratic Front, which is also a part of the same alliance.”