Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left Democratic Front and the opposition Congress in Kerala on Saturday flayed the Centre's decision to name the second campus of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) here after late Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue M S Golwalkar, alleging that the BJP was communalising everything and questioned his contribution to science.
"The BJP is attempting to bring communal elements to the forefront. As part of this plan, they decided to name the new campus of the RGCB after Golwalkar. BJP aims to communalise everything," LDF convener and CPI(M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan told reporters here.
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and leader of the opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala also came out against the decision.
Tharoor, in a series of tweets, asked whether the Centre wanted to "memorialise a bigoted Hitler-admirer, who in a 1966 speech to VHP, asserted the supremacy of religion over science?"
"As for RajivGandhi's contribution, he inspired scientific innovation &allocated funds for it. Are there no BJP icons who've at least tried2do the same thing? Must GoI memorialise a bigoted Hitler-admirer who in a 1966 speech to VHP asserted the supremacy of religion over science?," Tharoor tweeted.
He also suggested the name of Dr Palpu, a renowned bacteriologist and social reformer, born in Thiruvananthapuram in 1863.
Tharoor said Palpu was an expert in serum therapy and tropical medicine from Cambridge and Director of the Vaccine Institute and Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health.
"This forward-looking scientist & medical practitioner would be far more appropriate than an obscurantist ideologue of no scientific achievement & no discernible contribution to public health. It’s a BJP insult to Thiruvananthapuram & should be resisted. @drharshvardhan," Tharoor tweeted.
Chennithala said naming the campus after Golwalkar was not acceptable and added that he had written to the Prime Minister, requesting that the decision be withdrawn.
“What was the share of Golwalkar in the field of science and technology in the country? The Centre should withdraw the move," Chennithala said in a statement.
Senior CPI leader and former minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran had on Friday expressed shock and also suggested the name of Dr Palpu for the institution, saying "he fought against casetiest abuse of the downtrodden while providing his services to the medical sector.”
"There is no other person in the history of this country who has spread so much hatred,” he said in reference to Golwalkar.
No one should be allowed to sow such poisonous seeds in the land where reformers like Sree Narayana Guru, Ayyankali and Chattambi Swami have flourished the ideas of renaissance," Ratnakaran posted on Facebook.
Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the second campus of RGCB, a major knowledge centre and hub for mid and high level innovation, would be named 'Shri Guruji Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar National Centre for Complex Disease in Cancer and Viral Infection.'
He made the announcement while addressing a curtain raiser session of the sixth edition of India International Science Festival (IISF) scheduled for December 22-25, held online and organised by RGCB.