The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Friday said the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is "not a communal party" and praised the key partner of the opposition United Democratic Front for not agreeing with the Congress on the issue of the alleged move by Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, who according to the ruling front, was trying to "saffronise" the universities in Kerala.
Indicating a clear shift in its tactical approach towards the Muslim League, CPI-M Kerala state secretary M V Govindan also recalled the open alliance his party had with the party controlled by Panakkad Thangal family to form a government in 1967 in Kerala under the leadership of Communist stalwart late E M S Namboothiripad.
"Muslim League is a party that works democratically for the minorities. We are not saying that it is a communal party," Govindan, who is also a member of the CPI-M politburo, told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
In an apparent warming up to the Muslim League, which was once termed as a communal party by the CPI-M, Govindan said that only parties like SDPI are adopting communal positions.
He said the CPI-M has criticised the Muslim League whenever it had made friendship with forces like SDPI.
The Left party leader said there was a broad platform in the country for those who jointly fight against communalism. He, however, clarified that it is not a political alliance.
Govindan alleged that after the second Left Democratic Front government came to power, there was a large-scale campaign against the government by the opposition parties and the media to tarnish its image.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Centre of using the governor to "saffronise" the education sector in Kerala by destroying its progressive contents, the CPI-M leader praised the UDF partners like IUML and RSP for resisting the bid by the Congress to support the governor on the issue and standing with the Left government's position.
The Congress even advised the governor not to sign the Bills passed by the assembly, Govindan alleged.
He also alleged that the Congress tried to fish in troubled waters when the fishermen community protested against the Vizhinjam port project.
The ties between CPI-M and Muslim League in Kerala has been a story of love and hate. In 1967, the CPI-M in Kerala had an open alliance with the Muslim League as the latter got representation in the second E M S Namboodiripad government, which ruled the state between 1967 and 1969.
Since the collapse of that experiment then, the CPI-M had been keeping the Muslim League at bay due to ideological reasons.
The CPI-M has a history of expelling its firebrand leader M V Raghavan from the party in 1986 after the leadership led by Namboothiripad rejected the 'alternative' tactical line he pressed for, which made a strong case for an alliance with the IUML, to take on the UDF in the state.
While several leaders, including former chief minister E K Nayanar, backed his line of thought initially, most of them eventually toed the party's official policy. But Raghavan stood firm with his theory, leading to his expulsion along with some of his close collaborators from the CPI-M and formation of Communist Marxist Party (CMP), which later became a partner in the UDF.
The CPI-M had targeted the Muslim League during the campaign for the 2021 assembly polls, accusing it of adopting a soft stand towards radical Islamist outfits in the state.