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‘Muslim edge’ crucial in Kerala
|The Congress Party believes Mrs Sonia
Gandhi’s recent visit to Kerala on the occasion of Mr Pankakkad
Thangal’s 25 years in Indian Union Muslim League will help it retain the
crucial ‘Muslim edge’ in the Kerala assembly elections.
The IUML, with its influence over 40 constituencies in north Kerala, is
the second-largest partner in the Congress-led United Democratic Front.
During the recent panchayat elections, the CPI-M entered into an alliance
with the IUML. But the experiment turned out to be a disaster for the
CPI-M when the ‘deal’ was exposed, and the pro-Congress faction of the
IUML gained an upper hand in the party’s policy matters.
CPI-M leader, Mr VS Chuthanandan, who had petitioned the politburo against
the party’s bid 'to dilute its secular principle by entering in to a
secret alliance with the communal IUML,' launched a campaign that
virtually sealed the CPI-M’s overtures to the IUML. The CPI-M has now
settled for an alliance with the Indian National League, a break-away
faction of the IUML.
Calicut, an IUML stronghold, has of late been witness to a tussle for
‘political space’ between the CPI-M and IUML. Sonia Gandhi attended
the IUML function in this very city and urged the people to give a
befitting reply to the politics of violence. For the Congress, out of
power in the state for the last five years, this is a crucial election
where they hope to return to power riding on an anti-incumbency wave. Two
factors crucial to the Congress game plane are internal unity and the
support of the minorities. This is exactly what Mrs Gandhi tried during
Her visit set the tempo for the polls in the state. With the LF determined
to retain power, it has begun a journey from Trivandrum to mobilize forces
to counter the Congress rally. q