Deserted by Christians and Muslims, CPM’s U turn to woo Hindus

published on May 20, 2010

Is Kerala CPM playing the Hindu card?

VR Jayaraj | Kochi

Are the Kerala Marxists, disappointed with the experiences of associations with minority communities, planning to woo Hindu voters for the coming local bodies and Assembly elections? CPI(M)-watchers say that there are clear indications of such a disposition in the party, judging from the words of top party leaders, especially State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

At a face-to-face programme held at Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, Pinarayi unleashed attacks against the Christian clergy and various Muslim organizations persuading observers to interpret it as a clear message he was sending to the moderate Hindus of the State, who had turned against the CPI(M) during the last Lok Sabha elections, especially due to its open association with Islamist leader Abdul Nasser Madani’s PDP.

“I won’t be surprised if the CPI(M) decides to woo the Hindu voters by directing its political attacks against the minority outfits,” said Ajayakumar, a historian and Leftist thinker. “The Marxist party had depended on that strategy successfully and unsuccessfully during the time of EMS Namboothiripad. In the present context, they need to think on these lines as most minority outfits have effectively turned against them,” he said.

Ajayakumar pointed out that the CPI(M)’s reluctance in pushing further the Devaswom Bill meant to bring Hindu temples under stricter Government control and the relative cessation of criticisms against NSS, could be seen as indications of the new thinking among the Marxists. “The CPI(M) will never give open indications of pro-Hindu stand. This has been like that always,” he said.

Pinarayi himself gave indirect indications about the possibility of his party trying to get the Hindus’ support at the face-to-face programme. Asked by mediamen as to how the CPI(M) was hoping to win the coming elections in the context of widespread discontentment among the minority communities, he said, “We should have firm faith in the secular nature of the Kerala society.”

A group-neutral leader of the CPI(M) interpreted the party secretary’s statement as an admission of the plan to woo the Hindus. “What does his reference to the secularist stand of the Kerala society mean when he does not deny the allegation that the minorities had turned against the party? It means that he believes that the Hindus will rally behind him,” said the Marxist leader.

Alleging that certain top Christian clergy could have been involved in the decision of former LDF ally PJ Joseph to merge his Kerala Congress group with that of KM Mani, a Congress ally, Pinarayi said interference of religion in politics was not at all desirable. “Interference of religion in politics would lead to dangerous situations,” Pinarayi said, adding that the clergy should make their stand clear on this.

The Christian Church, which had stood with the Left during the 2006 Assembly elections due to its differences with the Congress-led front, had transformed into a foe immediately after the front assumed power owing to the educational reforms the Government tried to bring in and Pinarayi’s own attacks against the clergy. “The CPI(M) knows that winning the Church’s confidence back at this juncture is simply impossible,” said Anish Panicker, a sociologist based in Kochi.

The CPI(M) is convinced that there are not many supporters among the Muslims after the Jama’at-e-Islami, which had stood by the Left for a whole decade, turned against it reportedly in protest against the neo-liberalist Marxist leadership’s love for mega-projects which had caused disturbances in the Muslim organization’s strongholds in Kozhikode district. Perhaps the party’s only remaining support base among the State’s Muslims is the Sunni sect led by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar. But even this sect does not claim that its followers are exclusively pro-Left.

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