Kerala : CPM is desperately trying to woo Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to expand its ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). The ultimate aim is to disarm the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and finish the Congress off in the state as it (Congress) is, despite the chance win in Himachal Pradesh assembly elections recently, fast turning irrelevant in other parts of the country. They are designing a long-term plan, especially for the assembly elections of 2026.
CPM state secretary M.V. Govindan said that on December 9, his party had never been told that IUML was a communal party. He added they could join hands with anyone in the fight against ‘communalism’. He says that it does not mean a political alliance. He certified that IUML is a political party working on democratic lines. He reminisces that CPM and IUML worked together in the ruling’ seven party alliance’ (1967 – 69).
But, in this power-crazy endeavour, CPM forgets their decades-long stand towards IUML. Since they parted way in October 1969 due to the collapse of the ruling alliance and the fall of the ministry led by CPM veteran EMS Namboothirippad, CPM and IUML have never worked together in a collaboration. Not only that, their relationship has always been highly strained. It ebbed to the lowest level in 1985 – 86 in the wake of the Shabanu Case and the controversial Shariat issue.
In those days, Kerala politics reached a rare point where neither LDF nor UDF wanted IUML in their alliance. EMS, then CPM supremo, kept attacking IUML and its obsession with Shariat and Muslim Personal Law and advocated for Uniform Civil Code. Unfortunately, Congress, with K. Karunakaran at the helm, resolved to keep on maintaining IUML in UDF. It was the dirtiest vote bank politics. Congress, read party veteran K. Karunakaran, did not see fissiparous tendencies in the call of the then IUML chief Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait in December 1986, to boycott the Republic Day Celebrations of 1987. Sait echoed the call of the ‘All India Babri Masjid Conference of Syed Shahabuddin.
Thus, the state of Kerala and the entire country missed a bus to kill the political legitimacy of an Islamic communal party. Since then, IUML has been calling the shots in the Congress-led UDF. The party has been enjoying the power of an anchor in UDF politics. Congress and other UDF partners have to satisfy them for the smooth going of the Front.
Muslim Youth League, the youth wing of IUML in August 2020, mooted the idea of a separate Malabar state. It would be the focus of their activities in 2021, the centenary period of the Khilafat massacre of 1921. Except for BJP and RSS-inspired Hindu organisations, nobody expressed any concern about that dangerous communal proposal. But, the nationalist forces still remember how IUML mooted the idea of Malappuram district in 1967-68, consisting of Muslim majority areas in Malabar and how the EMS regime implemented it in 1969.
Now, the plight of the Congress in Kerala is highly pathetic. They have lost to LDF in two consecutive assembly elections. Since the party’s condition on a national level is no one’s envy, and the party unit in the state suffers the most severe infighting in its history, if IUML leaves the Front, the entire UDF apple cart will collapse. That is the trump card CPM plans to play. Once IUML leaves UDF and joins the LDF, Kerala will likely be a “Congress-Mukt State”. Given the limitations of the BJP in the state, LDF plus IUML can hope for a repeat win in 2016, a third consecutive electoral victory. CPM insiders say their leaders envisage a Bengal model of decades-long rule in the state.
CPM has already made sure that Muslim religious groups are with them. They leave no stone unturned for this task. Recently LDF rolled back the law that proposed Waqf Board appointments through the State Public Service Commission, thanks to the protests by the Muslim groups and consequent discussion with CM and the Kerala Jamiyathul Ulama. And, when the union government banned the Popular Front of India, an Islamic fundamentalist outfit, police forces, presided over by Chief Minister and CPM supremo Pinarayi Vijayan who is also the Home Minister, did not venture into immediate raids in the outlawed offices so that the functionaries could remove the essential documents and the leaders could go underground. If the fundamentalist outfits and IUML are with LDF, it will be a shot in the arm for the LDF poll arithmetic.
CPM and IUML leadership look all set to forget that the rank and file of both parties have been engaging in even street fights in the last few years in the Malabar region. They have led to casualties on both sides.
Christian Churches are still in ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. They still need to take a firm decision. Christian votes still swing between UDF and LDF. But, that Congress is nowhere near power at the centre, a question is likely to arise – ‘What use if go with Congress ?’. To add insult to injury, IUML is in the “Should we, shall we” situation concerning the UDF coalition. These factors can push them to press EVM for LDF. Even though many Christian believers trust Modiji, they are not sure if BJP can come to power in the state.
The factors mentioned above are silver lines for LDF. BJP is watching the situation and has started full-fledged homework for the 2014 Parliament polls. All the nationalistic forces and voters pin their hope on BJP’s state-of-the-art move in this direction.