Kerala parties step up Muslim-wooing

via VR Jayaraj | Kochi - Daily Pioneer published on August 18, 2010

Major political parties in Kerala are set to step up efforts at Muslim-wooing in the context of the arrest of Abdul Nasser Madani, key accused in the Bangalore bombings case. The two main political fronts in the State are worried that the arrest could cause serious dents in their Muslim votebanks just when two major elections are coming up.

The CPI(M) is on urgent damage-control measures because it believes a section of the Muslims in Kerala harbours the suspicion that the LDF Government had not sincerely tried to avert the arrest of Madani despite its dramatic moves that delayed the arrest by eight crucial days.

The Congress, heading the Opposition UDF, has already sought to distance itself from the entire Madani arrest issue, convinced that any position it takes would have a negative impact on the front’s electoral prospects because it has taken an anti-PDP stance since Madani’s estrangement with it before the 2006 elections.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, a CPI(M) Politbureau member, tried hard to convince the Muslims, especially the supporters of Madani, by saying that neither he nor the LDF Government could have avoided the arrest as this was done on the basis of a warrant issued by a court outside Kerala on the charge of terror activity.

He said on the very day of Madani’s arrest that the “warrant on Madani was not executed by the Kerala Police” whom he controlled but this was done by the Karnataka Police, implying obviously that such an incident would not have taken place if it was a Kerala-specific affair. Parties like the BJP have already accused Kodiyeri and the CPI(M) of striking a secret deal with Madani to avoid or delay the arrest.

Even before the arrest, Kodiyeri had played the card of BJP-bashing by saying that the Kerala Government could not act in accordance with the diktats of other states. He said the party ruling Karnataka and Gujarat could have its agendas but the Kerala Government was not duty-bound to obey their orders.

CPI(M)’s State committee member MV Jayarajan said the Karnataka Government had been trying to follow the model of the Gujarat Government with obvious reference to the BJP’s alleged agenda.

The CPI(M) had forged an open alliance with Madani’s party in the last Lok Sabha election and had fielded a candidate of the Islamist leader’s choice in the Ponnani constituency, risking even the warm relationships with the other constituents of the LDF, especially the CPI and RSP. Till date, the CPI(M) has not formally admitted that this association was a mistake despite all the charges against Madani.

Observers expect the pro-Muslim campaign of the CPI(M) with respect to Madani to escalate in the coming days as it could not afford to lose the support of the PDP. “The only section among the Muslims that still supports the Marxists is the Sunni sect of Kanthapuram (AP Aboobacker Musliar). The Marxists have to do everything they can to keep the PDP with them,” said a senior editor of a leading Malayalam daily.

While the Congress is trying to generate a feeling that it does not want to take sides in the Madani issue, the Muslim League, second largest constituent of the UDF, is worried that its inability to defend Madani at the crucial time could affect its interests badly.

At present, a fierce war is on in the Muslim League over the position the party should adopt towards Islamist outfits. The Muslim League has so far not been able to convincingly deny the charge of Madani that it was being ungrateful after taking his support in the 2001 Assembly election.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

eleven − 9 =


Latest Articles from Kerala Focus

Did You Know?