Kerala: Fronts stage anti-communal campaigns, Vadakara polariser still behind curtains

The ‘communal polarisation’ controversy erupted in Vadakara on April 25, the poll eve.
The anti-communal rally and meet organised by the DYFI in Vadakara on Friday
The anti-communal rally and meet organised by the DYFI in Vadakara on FridayPhoto | Express

KOZHIKODE: More than a week after a high-octane Lok Sabha election campaign, rival fronts continue to camp in Vadakara, with no end in sight to allegations and counter-allegations. The major accusation both LDF and UDF make is the adoption of communal polarisation as a strategy to win votes. And now, the two fronts are organising anti-communal campaigns in Vadakara to expose the communal aspects of each other.

DYFI has already organised a rally in the town, in which the CPM youth outfit’s national president A A Rahim called Shafi Parambil, the UDF candidate in the constituency, the biggest political poison Kerala has ever witnessed.

The anti-communal rally and meet organised by the DYFI in Vadakara on Friday
Vadakara's electoral battle intensifies as Shafi's campaign challenges Shailaja's dominance

The ‘communal polarisation’ controversy erupted in Vadakara on April 25, the poll eve. A screenshot of Nedumbrammanna Youth League WhatsApp group surfaced on social media, which allegedly had a message from an MSF leader asking to vote for a “Dheeni candidate” and calling K K Shailaja -- the LDF candidate -- “a kafir”. Thereafter, the two fronts have been engaged in a bitter political fight, accusing each other of spreading communal hatred.

While UDF claimed the CPM forged the screenshot, LDF alleged that UDF exploited the religious identity of their candidate, Shafi, to win over voters. Conversely, UDF alleged the CPM aims to take society backwards with its communal agenda.

A day after the election, the UDF leadership announced plans for an awareness campaign in Vadakara to combat communal polarisation. However, it was the DYFI that organised the first rally in the town. Inaugurating the ‘Youth Alert’ march on May 3, Rahim criticised the Congress-led campaign in the constituency, accusing it of propagating communal animosity.

LDF also announced their ‘Public Resistance’ campaign subsequently. In response, Congress’ state president-in-charge M M Hassan has declared a protest meeting in Vadakara on May 11 against CPM’s alleged hate campaign targeting Shafi.

Meanwhile, LDF convener E P Jayarajan, through a social media post, termed UDF’s decision to campaign against communalism in Vadakara “ridiculous”.

“When it became clear that LDF was making huge inroads in the constituency during the campaign, UDF released its communal card. This campaign, which was backed by organisations such as Jamaat-e-Islami, also caused deep concern among a large section of secular-democrats within the Congress. There was resentment even within a section of the Muslim League,” Jayarajan posted.

However, Youth Congress state president Rahul Mamkootathil told TNIE that the CPM is defending their own communal tactics by organising the anti-communal rallies.

“This is not the first time they are trying to create communal polarisation in Vadakara. The murders of Fazal and T P Chandrasekharan are prime examples of that. CPM killed Fazal and TP and tried to blame other parties. They are following the technique even now. They created a fake screenshot to spread communal hatred in Vadakara. And now they are organising rallies against communalism. The CPM cannot deceive the people of Vadakara through their rallies,” Rahul said.

Meanwhile, the people continue to be befuddled as to who the real culprits behind the communal campaigns in the constituency are.

“Political parties are accusing each other and they are conducting rallies against communal polarisation. But we still don’t know who the black sheep here are. All these political parties should remember one thing, that communal polarisation is not the way to gain votes,” said Muhammed Jazim, a Vadakara resident.

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