CPI(M) overtures to IUML sends jitters across Cong-led UDF in Kerala

Even as the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Indian National Congress is struggling to stay afloat after the crushing defeat it received at the hands of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the 2021 Assembly polls, the front is bracing for another shocker as CPI(M) is trying to woo its major constituent, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

After the exit of the Kerala Congress (Mani), a predominant political party of Roman Catholic Christians, the UDF lost ground in Central Travancore which was once its major political bastion.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) with 15 Assembly seats is the second largest constituent in the UDF after the Indian National Congress with 21 seats. The UDF has a total of 41 seats in the Kerala Assembly presently while the LDF has 99 seats of the total 140 seats.

While the CPI(M) has been taking a political stand that the Muslim League is a communal party and that it wont have any truck with any communal elements, the party has of late sensed blood and has been trying to woo the Muslim League.

The CPI(M) state secretary, M.V. Govindan fired a salvo while stating that the Muslim League was not a communal party and that the League was a secular political party functioning among the downtrodden, including the Muslims.

The Congress retorted to the statement with the state opposition leader and senior leader of the Congress party, V.D. Satheeshan stating that Govindan clearing the earlier statement of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that Muslim League was a communal outfit was ‘Welcome’.

Senior leader of the Indian Union Muslim League, P.V. Abdul Wahab while speaking in the Rajya Sabha the other day during the private member bill on the Uniform Civil Code said that none of his Congress colleagues were present in the House during an important discussion.

This statement of Wahab in the Rajya Sabha was also not accidental and political analysts are of the opinion that the statement was intended specifically at the Congress party.

Mohammed Abdullah, a former journalist and political commentator from Kozhikode while speaking to IANS said, “The Muslim League is a major political partner for the Congress in the UDF and League is giving proper signals to the Congress to either correct itself or that it would mind its own business. The CPI(M) on the other hand is trying to woo the Muslim League considering the fact that the League is the largest political party among the Muslim community and if League aligns with the left then it’s curtains for the Congress party in Kerala.”

Senior leader, Member of Parliament, and former KPCC president, K. Muraleedharan, told the media persons that without the Muslim League, the survival of Congress and UDF would totally weaken.

Senior leaders of the Muslim League, however, have denied any political truck with the CPI(M) or the Left Front. Party state president, Sadik Ali Shihab Thangal while speaking to the media persons at Kozhikode said, ” There is no political truck with the CPI(M) and we are strongly rooted in the UDF.”

Senior leader of the party, P.K. Kunhalikutty, who is the Deputy Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly also told the media persons that the League is with the UDF and other discussions do not have any face value.

While the senior leaders are taking a brave position on the exterior, the undercurrents are definitely being pointed towards the League trying to have a bonhomie with the CPI(M) and the Left Front.

BJP state president K. Surendran in the meanwhile told the media persons that the CPI(M) was trying to create a communal divide in the society and the overtures of the party towards the Muslim League is a clear indicator to that.

He appealed to the CPI(M) leadership not to communally divide the Kerala society and warned that things would become worse through such a move.

The CPI(M) state secretary, M.V. Govindan clarified to the media persons on his statement about the Muslim League and said, “My statement that the Muslim League is not a communal party does not in way mean that we are inviting that party to the LDF. It need not be read like that, it was a mention on that party.”

Even as both the CPI(M) and the Muslim League are openly denying any possibility of a political alliance between the two, the chances of such an alliance is not ruled out.

Mohammed Kutty, Director of Social Action, an activist group based out of Malappuram district while speaking to IANS, said, “The Muslim League is out of power since 2016 in Kerala and in the Centre the party does not have any thing to do since Narendra Modi assumed office in 2014. The party had ministers in both state and Central governments and being without power for the past so many years is leading to major difficulties for the party and the demand from the lower and middle level leaders for a truck with the CPI(M) is on a high. However it has to be seen whether the League would take such a political step in the near future.”

It may be recalled the late EMS Namboodiripad, who was the CPI(M) ideologue and the former General Secretary of the party had in the 1987 Assembly elections taken a political stand that the party won’t have any truck with the ‘Communal ‘Muslim League and the Kerala Congress and had cleverly played the Hindu card winning the polls majestically.

With the new era requiring new alignments and combinations and politics being an art of the possible, the Muslim League responding to CPI(M) overtures and joining the Left Front cannot be ruled out.

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