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|January 14, 1998||
PDP, INL will remain untouchables in Kerala
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The Indian Union Muslim League has torpedoed the Congress's move to befriend allies representing the Muslim masses in Kerala.
Thus, the People's Democratic Party and Indian National League are likely to remain untouchables in the bi-polar political scene of the state -- the Communist Party of India-Marxist had already made it clear that it will not have anything to do with the two 'communal' parties.
The PDP and INL, which emerged in the late 1990s as major threats to the Muslim League hegemony, were sought to be accommodated in the United Democratic Front by senior leaders like Kunnoth Karunakaran, provided the IUML did not object.
But IUML state supremo Panakkad Mohammed Ali Shibah Thangal rejected the idea, saying it would be against the party's interest.
The PDP, which is a political reincarnation of the banned Islamic Sewak Sangh led by Abdul Nassar Madani, a leader known for his fundamental postures, had in the initial days of the party's formation supported the LDF. When the CPI-M failed to reciprocate the support he tried to put in place a third front in the company of small parties. The third front experiment, however, failed to make any impact in the electoral arena, following which the PDP tried to cross over to the UDF.
The INL, which had split away from the IUML protesting against its continued alliance with the Congress after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, had adopted a helpful stand towards the LDF till the last election. It found the LDF unacceptable after it refused to formalise any alliance with it.
The CPI-M's state committee meet which concluded at Palakkad last week was critical of even the clandestine understanding the party had with the IML in the last election. The Achutanandan faction (it has an upperhand in the committee and state secretariat now) put its foot down on a move for any kind of adjustments with parties having communal record.
With the CPI-M politburo member emerging the LDF convenor, the CPI-M or its partners would not dare to make any understanding with either of the parties. The thrust in the state conference was on the party trying to win over Muslim hearts without aligning with existing parties. However, a section in the party was sceptic about this possibility as the party had failed to make any headway in this regard through its programmes.
With the doors of an alliance shut, the field is open for individual leaders to go for tacit understanding. Karunakaran, who had such an understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party in the past, might try the course to save his son Muralidharan if he is fielded in at the Muslim-dominated Kozhikode constituency. Without the help of the INL or PDP, Muralidharan, like in the last election, is certain to lose since he has considerably angered the IMUL leadership by some of his statements. The reading in the party camp is he can romp home if either of the parties lend him a hand.
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