Ex-MP prefers faith to atheism, quits CPM

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on January 9, 2010

A silent revolution is taking place within the CPI(M) against the party’s insistence on adherence to atheism. With the resignation of Dr KS Manoj, former Marxist MP from Alappuzha and a devout Christian, from the party the other day, this silent revolution is threatening to become all the more obvious, observers say.

Manoj on the other day informed the Alappuzha district CPI(M) secretary and the secretary of the Thumboly local committee in which he was a member that he was parting ways with the organization due to inability to adhere to its instruction, as laid out in the recently formulated rectification document, to stay away from religious functions and rituals. Manoj’s resignation inspired CPI(M)’s ally Forward Bloc to ask that party to change its attitude towards faith.

Manoj said he was basically a religious man with faith in God and could not sacrifice this for the sake of Marxist ideology based in materialism and atheism. He said the rectification document, aimed at cleansing the party of corrupt and reactionary tendencies, had advised partymen to stay away from religious acts. “I quit the party because of the clash between faith and ideology. I cannot be loyal to my faith and ideology at the same time,” he said on Saturday.

Manoj’s decision to quit the party came almost after a year of the expulsion of former Marxist MP and present Congress MLA AP Abdullakutty from the CPI(M) almost for the same reasons. Abdullakutty was expelled for praising Narendra Maodi’s development model but the party was waiting for an occasion to act against him as he had been attacking it for its “hypocrisy” with regard to matters of faith. He said on Saturday that Manoj’s resignation proved that his position was correct.

Manoj, an anesthetist by profession, was Alappuzha diocesan president of the Latin Catholics Association when senior CPI(M) leader VS Achuthanandan picked him as the candidate to defeat Congress’s VM Sudheeran in Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency in 2004. Achuthanandan’s strategy was to use the influence of Manoj, then known as Manoj Kurisinkal, as a Latin Catholic to win the election for the party.

He also fought against KC Venugopal of the Congress in the same constituency in the April, 2009 election but lost it. Since then, Manoj had not been active in party programmes and had been spending most of his time in Delhi where he was practicing in a hospital. His wife Susan Abraham was a gynecologist in the same hospital.

Speaking to newsmen in Delhi on Saturday, Manoj said that it was high time the CPI(M) held serious discussions about the faithful in the party. “There are several believers in the party like me. I resigned also to bring the conflicts these people were undergoing to the party’s attention. The party should be ready to rectify the wrongs in the rectification document,” he said.

The rectification campaign, resumed in the CPI(M) in November last for ending the bad tendencies among comrades had stipulated that partymen should stay away from participating in obvious religious activities and functions. Manoj said that he, like any other man who was basically a believer, could not conform to this. He also criticized the collapse of intra-party democracy within the CPI(M), where those airing independent opinions were being sidelines in the name of groupism.

Responding to the resignation of Manoj from the CPI(M), Abdullakutty said that there were several workers in the CPI(M) who thought like Manoj and that more people would come out in the future. “We cannot organize a parade of such people. But many believers are silently leaving the CPI(M). It would be better if that party took a serious note of this,” he said.

Before his expulsion, Abdullakutty had proved to be a headache for the CPI(M) with his open religious acts. He had performed Umrah at Mecca without the party’s permission. He had criticized the party for not giving him chance to pay last respects (Mayyath Namaskaram) to the dead body of his grandmother. Towards the end of his stint in the party, he even performed Namaz at Idgahs with thousands of others.

Responding to Manoj’s resignation, Forward Bloc leader G Devarajan said on Saturday that it was high time the CPI(M) changed its attitude towards religions and faith. He said communist parties should shed their unnecessary intransigence.

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