India

Kerala: Ahead of assembly polls, rival fronts shift focus to communal polarisation

 

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala’s widely-accepted secular credentials notwithstanding, the state’s rival fronts have mounted an unabashedly brazen attempt at communal polarisation.

The ball was set rolling by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his state party secretary A Vijayaraghavan, both raising a bogey about the vital say that Muslim League allegedly exercises in the affairs of the Congress and the United Democratic Front that it heads.

The provocation was an announcement by the Indian Union Muslim League leaders that P K Kunhalikutty, currently an MP, is planning to resign his parliament seat and shift his sphere of activity to the state so as to take up the party’s operations in the state.

The CPI-M has been projecting that the development amounts to the Muslim League taking over the leadership of the UDF. The campaign even forced the League leaders to deny any move by Kunhalikkutty to resign his seat.

Simultaneously, the ruling front leadership has also been trying to create a wedge between Muslims and Christians by raking up the issue of Muslim League displeasure against the extension of reservation to forward castes on the basis of their economic conditions.

UDF leaders have accused the chief minister of playing with fire for the sake of votes, seeking to pit the Christians against the Muslims. A grievance by church leaders against alleged love jihad targeting Christian girls is also being sought to be played up to create between the two communities.

In order to counter the alleged distrust between the two communities, church leaders have visited the Thangal family of Panakkad, which is supposed to be the spiritual as well as political head of Kerala’s Muslims.

Opposition leader Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala have also visited Panakkad to reinforce the bonding between UDF and the Muslim League, driving the point home that Congress has no worries about the risk of undue influence of League that the CPI-M leaders are creating a scare about.

The opposition leaders blasted the chief minister and other CPI-M leaders for their dangerous game plan at a Kerala tour by Ramesh Chennithala that was flagged off at Kasargod, the northern part of the state.

Chennithala said the CPI-M leaders’ antagonism against the Muslims was a mystery and that their campaign has serious implications for the state and asserted that the struggle is to salvage secularism.

He alleged that the chief minister is behaving as if he is the state and that his office has become a mafia den and that his claim as a development hero was a hoax which will get exposed in the coming elections.