Prime Minister Manmohan Singh instinctively described the results of the assembly elections in five states as ?victory of secularism and UPA?. But the outgoing Congress Chief Minister of Kerala, Oomman Chandy, accused the CPI-M of resorting to blatant communalism in garnering Muslims votes for fashioning a huge victory.
The Congress General Secretary in charge of Assam (who falsely promised not to hold any party or constitutional post for ten years if worsted in M.P. assembly elections, 2003) said, his party was open to ?unconditional? support from Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), an exclusive Muslim party, formed on anti-Congress plank over scrapping of IMDT by the Supreme Court last July. It is led by Badrudin Jamal of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, and people who have campaigned for AUDF include Shahi Imam of Delhi, Bukhari.
Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh are in majority in 20 of Assam's126 assembly constituencies. Clinching ten seats by a six-month old party AUDF was no mean achievement, if one were to compare it with BJP's12. Had the UPA government not played the ?secular card? by amending the Foreigners? Act, 1946 selectively for Assam to reintroduce IMDT through backdoor, AUDF would have won more. Congress Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi should be complimented for calling AUDF communal (for others in Congress, only BJP is communal) and rejecting its unsolicited unconditional support to Congress. Taking conditional help from Bodo People'sProgressive Front is better because it shows sensitivity for indigenous Bodos who have renounced the path of violence for democracy.
Muslim infiltrators from Bangladesh are in majority in 20 of Assam's126 assembly constituencies. Clinching ten seats by a six-month old party AUDF was no mean achievement.
Oommen Chandy did not speak about ?communalisation? in hindsight. He had accused the LDF of the same when speaking at a news conference at Kalady, near Kochi, on April 24 last. Chandy made a very insightful reading when he said that the Left had a tailor-made communal propaganda for each constituency. This time Madani posters put up by the Left outnumbered Marx posters, after Madani'sPeople'sDemocratic Party chose to support the Left (vide For Left, Madani as handy as Marx?The Economic Times, May 13). The result was miraculous. Indian Union Muslim League, who commanded clout amongst Muslims, who form 20 per cent of Kerala'selectorate, and partner in UDF of Kerala and UPA at Centre, have been completely marginalised. Left has got the lion'sshare of Muslim vote. Does this indicate victory of ?secularism? as Manmohan Singh claim? No, it shows ?communalisation? of Left. CPI-M General Secretary, Prakash Karat, travelled to many Muslim strongholds in Kerala. He promised unstinted support to extra-territorial causes agitating the community (IUML on fringes, courtesy the Left?The Economic Times, May 13).
In recent past, we have seen this unstinted support in two cases. The Left militated against UPA-government'sstand on Iran vote in International Atomic Energy Agency on the pretext of ?independent foreign policy?. Prakash Karat was seen addressing a Samajwadi Party meeting of Shia Muslims in Lucknow speaking of ?close distance between Lucknow and Tehran?. Secondly, Left was seen making common cause with Muslims on anti-Bush rally in Delhi, Hyderabad etc. CPI-M demands India'sforeign policy to be independent of USA (it is other thing that once their policy was dictated from Moscow and Beijing). But they are instigating India'sMuslims to be bound by extra-territorial (pan-Islamic) concerns.
There is a valid perception that Congress lost its Muslim votes in Kerala, Assam and West Bengal because of its hobnobbing with George Bush and opposition to Iran'snuclear programme. The shrewd Left capitalised upon them in Kerala and West Bengal, already its strongholds. But Manmohan Singh, Oommen Chandy, Tarun Gogoi and Digvijay Sinh'sdifferent understanding of ?secularism? and ?communalism? not withstanding, the fact remains that Congress tried no less to seige upon this vote bank. The Kerala Assembly met for a special session on the day of Holi and passed a unanimous resolution exhorting the release of Abdul Nasser Madani, the alleged mastermind of Coimbatore bomb blast, on parole. Resolution was passed in the Parliament of India and legislative assembly of Andhra Pradesh to condemn the Danish cartoons on Prophet Mohammed. Nothing of that sort happened on M.F. Hussain'sindecent painting on Bharat Mata, forget about scores of similar painting on Hindu god and goddesses. It sends a message that a Muslim of India, while free to involve himself with anti-Danish tirade, is at liberty to disparage India as well.
Chandy made a very insightful reading when he said that the Left had a tailor-made communal propaganda for each constituency. This time Madani posters put up by the Left outnumbered Marx posters, after Madani'sPeople'sDemocratic Party chose to support the Left.
V.S. Achutanandan led the LDF to this massive victory in Kerala (95 out of 104 seats) assembly. But it might be remembered that CPI(M) was initially denying election ticket to this octogenarian, who is now the new Chief Minister of Kerala. The reason was not that he is an ?old world? communist out of sync with times and CPI(M) wanted a reformist face like Buddhadev Bhattacharya in West Bengal. CPI(M) was actually projecting a Muslim face viz. Paloli Mohammed Kutty. The politburo had taken this decision on the behest of Pinarayi Vijayan, the ?reformist? face. Even best well-wishers of Kutty did not merit him with that top job. Achutanandan had always been against Muslim League. What turned the table around was the pressure of the numerically strong Ezhava, a backward community to which Achutanandan also belongs. Their street marches across Kerala forced politburo to reverse that decision.
The ?Malabar lobby?, as the anti-Achutanandan group is known, wants its share in the pie. They want the post of Home Minister of Kerala to go to Paloli Mohammed Kutty, whom they had earlier tried to project as Chief Ministerial material. Having first attached the Muslims with pan-Islamist concerns they want the home portfolio for a Muslim in view of ?internal security?.
It is saddening to note BJP failed in opening account in both West Bengal and Kerala. The electorate in both the state is dominantly Hindu, but at the same time is under imminent threat from fundamentalist Islam. I would not be surprised if both Kerala and West Bengal (along with Assam) becomes conflict zones. While I rue the Hindu electorate'sutter insensitivity towards BJP to espouse friends of Jehad, there is certain comfort in thinking that BJP could not be blamed to what happens in these fault-line states either.