Kerala CPM on backfoot after its leader’s statement against Muslim League
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 2 (IANS) The Communist Party of India (Marxist), which is leading the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala, is on the backfoot following the statement of the party’s State Secretary, A. Vijayaraghavan accusing the Congress leaders of joining hands with the Islamic fundamentalism promoting Muslim League in the state.
During a press conference, Vijayaraghavan on Friday said Congress leaders Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy had met Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) President, Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal, at Panakkad House as part of compromising with Islamic fundamentalism.
This has created a major uproar in the state with the Congress leaders retorting that Muslim League is the second largest constituent of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), led by the Congress and there is nothing wrong in meeting the President of the Muslim League which is a secular party.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President Mullappally Ramachandran said, the “CPM is suffering from anti-Muslim phobia and this has come out of their mouths knowingly or unknowingly, the CPM is speaking the language of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Kerala.”
Realising the repercussions of Vijayaraghavan’s statement, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while addressing the media said, “I don’t see any wrong in Congress leaders meeting Muslim League leaders as it is part of their political programme. Comrade Vijayaraghavan would have spoken against the Congress entering into a tactical understanding with Jamaat-e-Islami-led ‘Welfare Party’.”
The CPM leadership could clearly understand the damage it has done, there is now a sympathy factor for the Muslim League among the Muslim community. The CPM was expecting a Muslim backlash against the UDF by raking up certain issues like ‘Sabarimala temple’ which is now backfiring on the party.
Former Chief Minister and Congress Working Committee member, Oommen Chandy, while speaking to the media said, “Panakkad family is one of the most secular faces of Kerala and it was only owing to the active intervention of the late Panakkad Mohammed Ali Shihab Thangal that the state retained its communal amity after the 1992 Babri Masjid issue. Speaking ill of such a family is unacceptable.”
Even the constituent partner of the CPM in the LDF, Communist Party of India (CPI) was dismissive of the statement made by Vijayaraghavan.
CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran while speaking to the media on Tuesday said, “The LDF is a secular party and if someone makes such statements, it is for him to be cautious. LDF does not have anything to do in this.”
It is a clear indicator that the LDF is itself worried about the pitfalls of the statement as the state is gearing up for an electoral battle.