THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The 1982 Vijayawada party congress of the CPM - led by then general secretary EMS Namboodiripad - after assessing the prevailing political scenario in the country, decided not to align with any political party backed by religious minorities or communal forces. Reason? The RSS-led BJP was slowly making its mark in India and the Left wanted no part in stoking majority communalism in the country.
The Kerala CPM however decided not to exclude anyone who had stood by the Left in its trying times. The CPM-led front was then in alliance with the All India Muslim League. A majority of leaders including E K Nayanar, M V Raghavan, P V Kunhikannan and Puthalath Narayanan therefore decided not to fall in line with the national leadership. Only one prominent leader from Kannur spoke firmly against the alliance with the League, and that was Pinarayi Vijayan.
Ironically, almost two decades later, the CPM led by then state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan made many an overture towards minority parties. Going by this, what is being referred to as a casual response by new LDF convener E P Jayarajan on Wednesday inviting Muslim League to the Left fold, sure has more than what meets the eye. The League conundrum has been a perennial headache for the CPM for long. The CPM secretariat had no choice but to step in to seemingly rein in EP over his ‘untimely’ remarks.
The CPM has time and again been left politically bruised, whenever it has had a close shave with the League. In fact it was the League fiasco that cost Nayanar his politburo berth in the 1985 Kolkata party congress that paved the way for a relatively junior V S Achuthanandan to make it to the politburo. Incidentally, it was VS who stood like a rock against getting the Indian Union Muslim League into the Left fold.
It was the League alliance debate that forced prominent leader M V Raghavan out of the party in 1986. MVR had presented an alternative document in the party state conference held in Kochi in 1985, that later resulted in his exit from the party.
Of late, the CPM has been unleashing a major attack on the League. If the IUML becomes part of the LDF, the party will have to keep proving its secular credentials. The Sangh Parivar would then be more than happy to cash in on the same, resulting in CPM losing its Hindu vote-base. On the other hand, rejecting the League, would result in minorities staying away. At a time when the CPM is set to expand its mass base in the state and become the party of the majority, it well cannot afford to distance minorities. At a time when the Opposition has been targeting the CPM for minority appeasement, the party does not want to rush into making a hasty decision. The IUML has made it clear that it is not interested in an alliance now. This does not necessarily mean that such a truck is not possible with the League in future.
Political observer Appukkuttan Vallikkunnu feels that at some point of time before the coming general elections, the CPM could make a strategic move to rope in IUML. “In that case, the party would have to backslide from its once principled stance of no alliance with such forces, irrespective of the political losses it could trigger. On the other hand if the Congress fails to put its act together to stay relevant nationally, the IUML too may seek to switch sides to be part of power politics,” he opined.