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Expelled Congressman: 'I have vishwas in Modi'

Last updated on: June 04, 2019 09:56 IST

'Modi should have trust in us and the minorities should also have trust in him.'

Photograph: Manvender Vashist/PTI Photo

A P Abdullahkutty, the former member of the 13th and 14th Lok Sabhas representing Kannur in Kerala, is in the news for his Facebook post analysing Narendra Damodardas Modi's victory and praising him for the welfare measures he has taken.

'What made Modi a success was the way he implemented Gandhian values in his governance', Abdullahkutty wrote.

His post did not go down well with his party, and he was asked to appear before a disciplinary committee.

This is not the first time Abdullahkutty has landed in trouble for his appreciation of Modi.

In 2009, he spoke openly that other states in India including Kerala should follow the Gujarat model of development. Soon, he was expelled from the Communist party of which he was a member from his student days. He then joined the Congress and once again, he is in trouble and for the same reason.

Shortly before he was expelled from the Congress, Abdullahkutty told Rediff.com's Shobha Warrier, "The curse of Kerala and the whole of India is that politics overrides everything. There is no political maturity in our country."

 

In 2009, when you spoke positively about the way Modi governed Gujarat, you were expelled from the Communist Party of India-Marxist. Now, you wrote a Facebook post analysing Modi's success as prime minister. From when did you start liking Modi's style of governance?

I honestly believe that you become a social worker to do something for society, and politics is a tool to do that.

Only with that intention in mind, I joined the students union of the Communist party.

From the beginning, I was in search of a good governance model. That was why, even as a young politician, I spoke more about a different kind of development model, quite different from what you witnessed in Kerala. Because of my outlook, I was always called to talk whenever there was a discussion on the way Kannur could be developed.

There is an NRI organisation called WAKE (Welfare Association of Kannur Expatriates) in Kannur. They had organised a seminar in Dubai in 2009. I was invited as one of the speakers representing the Communist Party of India-Marxist and K C Venugopal represented the Congress.

At the seminar, I found that almost all the pravasi Malayalis dreaded investing in Kerala because of the series of hartals, strikes and the political nuisance in the state.

Without any exception, everybody was of the opinion that the state was not at all investment-friendly and they felt it was high time the state changed.

When it was my turn to speak, I said there was only one way to solve the problem Kerala faced. I said, 'All the politicians from Kerala should go to Gujarat and see the different style of governance opted by Narendra Modi, the chief minister. His style is very investment-friendly and there is no hartal or bandh in that state. Road-laying is done at a faster pace there. And to develop roads, he is even willing to demolish temples.'

I urged all the politicians from Kerala to learn from him. It created such a furore and controversy in my state.

It angered my party and people like (then Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary) Prakash Karat wanted the state unit to take disciplinary action against me.

I replied to the notice that I stood by what I said. I reiterated that if they wanted Kerala to develop, hartals and bandhs should end.

The party leadership told me there was no way they should stop hartals or bandhs as it was part of the class struggle.

I said it was high time they saw the changes that were happening in the world. I told them that without development, there was no progress and without progress, there was no peace.

I was expelled from the party.

Why did you join the Congress after that?

I was on the verge of quitting politics. But my good friend and colleague from the 13th Lok Sabha, Ramesh Chennithala, was the Kerala unit president then. Because of him, I joined the Congress party.

I must say it happened by accident and it was not my intention at all then.

I was elected as an MLA in the by-election in 2009 and then in 2011 also.

This time also, I had campaigned from Kasargode to Wayanad.

Wherever I campaigned, I spoke about development. I would say development is in my DNA.

I would appreciate whoever did any development work irrespective of the political spectrum the person belonged to.

I appreciated the 4-lane highway developed by Pinarayi Vijayan though he is in the opposing camp.

Is that the reason you wrote the Facebook post appreciating the Modi government's welfare programmes?

I wanted to decode the huge victory of Narendra Modi as I believed it was because of the development work he has done.

But many Congressmen, especially the KPCC (Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee) leaders, did not understand what I was saying. That was why they wanted me to explain to the disciplinary committee.

If you read the post, you would understand that more than Modi, I was talking about the vision of Mahatma Gandhi.

What I wrote was that the secret behind Modi's success was that he understood and implemented the most important message of Mahatma Gandhi.

Gandhi had asked all politicians to see the face of the poor whenever they came up with an idea.

I saw this message in schemes like building toilets under Swachh Bharat and giving LPG connections to the poor through the Ujjwala scheme.

So, you believe in a kind of politics where politicians should appreciate good work of anyone irrespective of the party they belong to?

Yes. The curse of Kerala and the whole of India is that politics overrides everything. There is no political maturity in our country. It is so narrow-minded that it makes you look at everything only from the sphere of politics.

Look at the way politics is changing in the rest of the developed world. Once the election is over, the fight is also over.

After that, all of them believe in working for the welfare of the country. It is not so here.

I feel it is high time politicians of India stop barking at each other and looking at others as enemies.

I am being crucified for thinking on these lines.

Other than analysing the win, what prompted you to write such a post on your Facebook page?

If you look at the posts on social media from Kerala, you will see that they not only do not accept Modi's victory but insult him in a very crude way. They forget that they are insulting the prime minister of the country in such language. I felt very bad reading those messages.

As a Muslim, our religion, our faith teaches us that we should respect whoever is the ruler of the country.

So, from that perspective itself, the hate campaign against Modi that is happening in Kerala, even after his huge victory, is morally and politically unethical and dirty. The kind of language they use is shameless.

You can say, my post is a reaction to this dirty campaign that is going on in Kerala against Modi.

My reaction is honest and straight-forward, and I stick to all that I have written.

So, when you wrote the post, you did not think of the repercussions it can create within your party...

I appreciated Mahatma Gandhi first for understanding India and only after that I appreciated Modi for following his ideals. I don't think they should criticise me or expel me for such an observation.

Why do you think Kerala voted for the Congress while the rest of the country was under the Modi wave?

I have strong opinion about all those things. If I were to talk about it, I will have to criticise the Congress party. I do not want to answer that question at this juncture.

However, I am hopeful that I will get a chance to express my honest opinion inside the party. Then, I will express my honest opinion about my experience in the last 10 years, the weaknesses of the Congress party and my vision for the party.

I have strong opinion about the shortcomings of the party from the high command to the booth level.

If I don't get a chance to express within the party, I will say it outside. You wait and see.

Many newspaper reports say you are going to join the BJP...

You have to understand that in 2009, when the whole of India was criticising Modi, I appreciated him. Did I join the BJP then?

Now also, not even in my wildest dreams was I thinking of joining the BJP when I wrote the post.

Modi says 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas.'...

Once a person is elected prime minister, you should accept him as leader of the country and have vishwas (faith) in him.

Similarly, the leader and also the rest of the administrators should have vishwas in the minorities in the country.

In my opinion, both of them should have trust in each other as we move forward.

Modi should have trust in us and the minorities should also have trust in him.

Do you remember to whom Vice President Venkaiah Naidu gave the first free gas connection? It was to a Muslim woman. The Modi government showed no discrimination in welfare schemes.

As a Muslim, are you scared of the Modi government or do you have vishwas in him?

Definitely, I have vishwas in him.

I also would say that it was very reassuring to hear his words in his first speech after the win that he would take everyone along with him.

SHOBHA WARRIER