KOZHIKODE: The controversial alliance of IUML with the Welfare Party of India (WPI), the political wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, is at the centre of political debate in north Kerala. Under the weight of its contradictions, the ‘unholy’ alliance is likely to pose a challenge to IUML in its stronghold districts in the local body polls with Muslim outfits raising stiff opposition to the partnership.
Despite being the traditional vote bank of IUML, Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema, the largest Muslim organisation in the state, and the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen are still up in arms against the electoral understanding and it is expected to reflect in the polling. Though the organisations have not publicly declared their stand, a murmur campaign is spreading against the tie-up in the outfits.
Ever since the UDF leadership initiated discussions with WPI, Muslim organisations raised displeasure alleging that the alliance would destroy the secular values of the UDF. Amid the opposition, the coalition became a reality with WPI candidates contesting in four northern districts in the polls. A meeting attended by five Muslim organisations in Kozhikode had observed that the IUML-WPI partnership would not be acceptable and any such move should be defeated.
As Muslim organisations have not changed their stance on the issue, political circles are waiting to see whether the tactical move may backfire. On the other hand, eyeing the upcoming assembly polls, WPI is in a do-or-die situation to make its presence felt within the alliance. The party has to prove its vote share and influence in at least some select pockets to emerge as a bargaining outfit.
Political commentator M N Karassery said the tie-up is likely to backfire on IUML in two ways. First, the Sunnis and Mujahids, the largest groups in the Muslim community, are strongly against Jamaat-e-Islami. Hence, UDF may lose a large chunk of Muslim votes if it goes ahead with the alliance.
“WPI does not have a considerable vote share in the community to compensate for this loss. Second, IUML has lost its secular image by joining hands with the communal outfit. However, WPI is an influential outfit having two major media firms. That is why IUML came up with the alliance to prevent rival political fronts from entering into an understanding with WPI. However, the tie-up is unlikely to work out smoothly and IUML may suffer badly in the game,” he said.