Even as Chief Minister and the KPCC president are trying to bury the hatchet with IUML, following the conflict over ‘liability’ remarks, many Congress leaders in Malabar, feel that it is the right time for the party to cut itself away from IUML. According to them, the KPCC should take that extreme step of challenging the IUML leadership, if the latter threatens to quit the Front.
They allege that, unlike in the past, IUML leaders E T Mohammed Basheer and K P A Majeed are competing with each other in communal strategies and this is badly affecting the secular credentials of the Congress party.
Leaders demand that Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala must stand united and ask the IUML to introspect about its political strength in the state sans the Congress.
When contacted, former KPCC president K Muralidharan said: “We expect that the KPCC leadership and the Congress High Command would definitely consider this feeling of the Congress workers in the state, while deciding on the party’s alliance with IUML.”
Says KPCC secretary Adv K Jayanth: “IUML will lose its political identity if it quits the Front. Congress may suffer in a few seats especially in Wandoor or Malappuram but it would be the IUML, which will be hit if they contest independently.” According to him muslims constitute around 26 per cent of the state’s population of which 11 per cent is distributed from Thrissur to Thiruvananthapuram districts.
Significantly, leaders point out that KPCC leadership has for long, denied deserving representation for the Muslim leaders in the party as well as in the government set up over the years citing the presence of Muslim League. Unless the KPCC leadership comes out with a strategic shift to strengthen the party base within the Muslim community, leaders like Aryadan Mohammed, C P Mohammed, M M Hassan and Shanimol Usman, who are having a nationalist view and resolute secular outlook, will soon become a thing of past. What irks the Muslim leaders in Congress is the fact that Christian leaders are given due recognition by the KPCC despite the presence of Kerala Congress (M).
Said a senior KPCC functionary: “It’s unfortunate that KPCC is sidelining its Muslim leaders citing the presence of Muslim League in the UDF. Over the last 50 years, after the term of T O Bava as KPCC chief in 1960, no Muslim Congress leader has been considered by the KPCC for any of the top posts in Kerala. They are denied Rajya Sabha seats saying that Muslim League will represent the community. What’s more, KPCC does not even suggest the names of Muslim leaders to be nominated as Governors. This is the only reason why veteran Congress leader Nafeesathu Beevi of Kozhikode was denied due recognition.”
Echoing the view, social critic Hameed Chennamangalloor said its high time that the KPCC leadership understood that the alliance with Muslim League or any other communal/casteist organisations beyond a certain limit, would be a liability.
“It’s a secular society that we have to expand in the state. For this, both the Congress and the CPM should disassociate with all communal and casteist outfits. At a time when senior Muslim leaders in Congress are denied due recognition, newbies like Manjalamkuzhy Ali are given ministership by Muslim League. Such unfair practice would prompt the Muslim youth to stay away from Congress and join such communal outfits,” he said.