Kozhikode : It will not be an exaggeration, but an open fact that UDF rule in Kerala is fast slipping into the hands of Muslim League. Though it is only second in the coalition having only 20 seats, Congress being the first; its domination prevails in all aspects of state administration. So many incidents are there to substantiate this.
At the time of ministry formation the Muslim League takes the lead to allot portfolios amongst the alliance partners and the League takes important ones such as Education, PWD, Local Bodies, which are considered to be the ‘milch cow’. This is the traditional practice followed either in the UDF or in the LDF, because Muslim League has been considered to be the champion of minorities and the two fronts have been pampering it, though everybody is aware of its communal agenda and partisan attitude.
In the 2011 assembly election, the UDF could get only 2 seats against the opposition LDF. Muslim League as a power hungry party could snatch 4 seats in the cabinet and again they eyed on the 5th berth. They solemnly set apart the 5th one to one Manjalam Kuzhi Ali, a new entrant from CPI (M), who got elected in the 2011 election. League considered it as its prestigious issue. At last the Chief Minister bowed down before the pressure tactics and last minute threatening of mass protest and resignation of League ministers. The power thirsty CM could not hear the protests of his party colleagues and opposition of Left and BJP. Many leaders of influential social organisations vehemently opposed the appeasement and the timely protest of Nair Service Society (NSS) and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) evoked considerable awareness in the majority community. They being two influential sections of Hindu society warned the UDF and Congress not to test the patience of the majority. This warning had reflected in the Neyyathinkara by-election in which the BJP candidate amassed a major chunk of the majority community vote.
Another one sided action has come from MK Muneer, local bodies minister, who started a Charitable Trust in the name of his father the late CH Mohammed Koya, former Chief Minister. Muneer instructed all the local bodies in the state to contribute liberally to that Centre. The aims and objectives of the Centre remain doubtful and without the consent of the government. The decision was taken by the League top brass and without consultation in the UDF. It became an official order even though it came from district secretary of the League. Statutory protests and statements were on the air from Congress leaders and LDF. But nobody took the lead to strongly block this undemocratic move and stop it.
According to the plans of League, each and every Panchayat has the obligation to donate Rs 1 lakh, Block Panchayat 2 lakh, District Panchayat 3 lakh, municipalities 2 lakh and corporation 3 lakh. Totally these amounts may come nearly Rs 15 crore. Though Muneer claims that this amount would go to social service, no body is going to believe it, as there was no history of Muslim League of that type. The social service of Muslim League is sectarian and communal. It is also to be noted that the Chairman of the Mohammed Koya Centre is none other than the former League general secretary who has been allegedly connected with the notorious ‘Love Jihad’ movement by saving one Muslim youth from police, some days back. Muslim League did not take a firm stand against this nasty movement, against which the Courts in Kerala too took an adamant stand.
Another autocratic move of the League came from Education Department. The Syndicate of the Calicut University took a decision to distribute acres of land in the outskirts of the University Complex to some of the trusts of which League bigwigs are trustees and chairmen, without the consent or knowledge of the Government. Even the Chief Minister said that he had no information about this bhoodan. Media took strong exception about this nefarious deal and both ruling and opposition parties started a hue and cry and finally the whole move failed and the very minister who silently monitored all happenings washed his hands. The last confession of Abdul Rabb was that the deal did not materialise. Contrary to his argument it was a clear deal in the broad day light that 10.5 acres of land was allotted to a trust of which League chairman Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal is head.
Yet another instance of Muslim League running a parallel administration in the state is the issue of taking 35 unaided schools of Malabar, especially those of Malappuram district. In this case what happened was Muslim League takes a decision to take over 35 unaided schools and Education Minister declares the decision in the state assembly without any discussion in the Cabinet or in the UDF. At first, MLAs from different sections expressed their embarrassment to Chief Minister and the CM did not agree with the Minister. But the very next day CM made a ‘U’ turn to say that it was accepted by the Cabinet. Actually nobody was aware of this acceptance.
Actually, which are these unaided schools? When PV Narasimha Rao was Prime Minister in 1991, through a special scheme called Area Intensive Programme, 41 orphanage schools (Yatimkhanas) got the central aid. The financial assistance was for the studies of poor students. In 2003, the Centre stopped the scheme and financial help. Then the state government came forward to help the orphanages by giving basic salary even this was an out of the way step to help some rich Muslim managements in which there are different sects of Muslims, including Jamat-e-Islami, the notorious divisive force. It was with the pressure from all these sections the government decided to take over 35 schools out of 41.
But contrary to the Cabinet decision and announcement of the Chief Minister, Education Minister declared in the assembly that 35 unaided schools were made aided ones. That declaration was an open challenge to the Cabinet as well as the people in general. Resentment brewed up in the Cabinet while the CM declared unexpectedly that the announcement of Education Minister was correct. The CM had no shame to change his words to appease the Muslims. Resentment and protests spread throughout the state and Finance Ministry rejected it and sent back the proposal as it would impose a burden of Rs 85 crore a year on the state exchequer. At last the government has decided to study the matter in detail and act with caution. But this postponement itself is a ploy to wait till the people’s anger settle down.
The result of this partiality of the rulers is the starting of the clear cut division of people on communal lines. It is evident that the majority community, which has been a mute spectator of the onslaughts, now feels angry and is ready to come out with protest. Different Hindu organisations of different denominations, which kept silence for decades are also now coming forward to oppose the minority appeasement. It should also be noted that the Bishops of different Christian sections visited Panakkad Thangal recently and decided to work jointly on various issues. In the Neyyattinkara Assembly re-election, a Hindu-Christian divide was evident. The Christian clergy took an open and clear cut stand there to see a Christian nadar get elected. A Hindu backlash also had taken place there and the BJP candidate got an unexpected number of votes. It was only a signal for the minority appeasers.
Seeing the slavish mentality of the Congress Chief Minister, the general secretary of Nair Service Society (NSS) had rightly said that if things go on like this the CM has to change his residence and State Secretariat to Malappuram. Vellappally Natesan, general secretary of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP) also raised his resentment and said that the hegemony of the communal Muslim League and that of church will not be tolerated any more. ‘People of the state especially the majority community would not sit idle on the face of minority onslaught further,’ Natesan warned. Showing a historical change, prominent sections of Hindu society had come forward to settle their petty differences and join together for the unity and safety of the society. It is also a noteworthy symptom that NSS and SNDP, two different major sections of the Hindu society, came together and decided to work jointly. Backward sections and their respective organisations also have a strong opinion about Hindu consolidation and common brotherhood, which was absent so far in the state.
(The writer is former Editor of Kesari Weekly)