By-poll: Left not to share dais with Madani’s party

via PNS | Thiruvananthapuram published on October 14, 2009

    The CPI(M) had for the past six months consistently tried to defend its Kerala secretary Pinarayi Vijayan’s controversial appearance with Islamist Abdul Nasser Madani on the stage of a Lok Sabha election convention, But, on Wednesday, it agreed to the opinion of other partners in the LDF not to have open alliance with PDP in the campaigning for the November 7 by-polls to three Assembly constituencies.

An LDF meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday decided that the LDF leaders would not share dais with the PDP. After the meeting, LDF convener Vaikom Viswan said that the matter of cooperation with PDP in the by-polls would be decided after its position was known. However, the decision of the meeting was to avoid sharing dais with PDP leaders and not to have overt cooperation in the by-polls.

Though CPI(M) leaders tried to maintain that there would be no sharing of dais with the PDP leaders as it was not a front partner, the actual reason behind the decision was the sharp criticisms that followed the CPI(M)’s act during the Lok Sabha polls. However, CPI(M)’s critics were of the opinion that the LDF convener, who was also a central committee member of the Marxist party, had not made it clear whether there would be a secret understanding with the PDP.

The PDP was yet to open its mind regarding its approach to the CPI(M) candidates in the Assembly by-polls but it had already announced its own candidate for Alappuzha. PDP’s senior vice-chairman KA Hassan would be the party candidate in Alappuzha. This PDP decision was seen as an act of its ire towards the CPI, which had strongly opposed its alliance with the CPI(M) in the last Lok Sabha election. Even the national leaders of the CPI had then criticized Pinarayi Vijayan’s act of sharing an election convention dais with Madani in Ponnani, Malappuram.

Observers are of the opinion that the CPI candidate in Alappuzha for the by-poll would find the going tough due to the presence of a candidate of the PDP, which has considerable strength in the constituency. They say that this could work out against the prospects of the LDF which had been losing the Alappuzha Assembly seat traditionally to the Congress.

At the same time, the Nair Service Society (NSS), which claimed to have a large number of votes in Alappuzha constituency, came out strongly against the Congress for fielding a Muslim candidate, AA Shukur, diverging from the normal practice of fielding a Nair candidate. NSS assistant secretary G Sukumaran Nair alleged that the list of UDF candidates for the by-polls gave a feeling that members of some particular communities alone were fit to be fielded as its candidates.

Nair said in Kottayam that this showed a tendency to create a special division among communities, adding that the UDF candidates could not be termed as people with winning capacity. The NSS was obviously angry with the Congress for not fielding even a single Hindu for the by-polls. The Congress candidate in Kannur was AP Abdullakutty while in Ernakulam it was Dominique Presentation, a member of the Latin Catholic community.

Stating that the NSS did not see LDF as untouchable, Sukumaran Nair said the organization would continue with its principle of keeping equi-distance from both fronts in the by-polls. But State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala explained that the Congress had not intended to appease minority communities and that the only criterion in candidate-selection was winnability.

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