Israel-Hamas war | CPI(M) hails IUML ‘decision’ to participate in LDF’s pro-Palestine rally in Kozhikode

Israel-Hamas war | CPI(M) hails IUML ‘decision’ to participate in LDF’s pro-Palestine rally in Kozhikode

CPI(M) Central committee member A.K. Balan

CPI(M) Central committee member A.K. Balan
| Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] Central committee member A.K. Balan has signalled that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) appeared to be on the cusp of crossing a political Rubicon by “deciding” to participate in the upcoming Left Democratic Front (LDF) rally in Kozhikode on November 11 to voice solidarity with the Palestine people.

Speaking to journalists outside the CPI(M) Kerala headquarters at the AKG Centre in Thiruvananthapuram on November 3, 2023, Mr. Balan said the IUML’s “resolve to march in lockstep” with the CPI(M) on various national issues, including opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Central government’s move to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) that “seeks to trample” on the personal laws of Muslims, will have “far-reaching consequences” in Kerala’s coalition politics.

Mr. Balan said the IUML displayed an “increasing affinity” to the CPI(M)‘s political positions. For one, Mr. Balan noted, IUML Kerala general secretary P.M.A. Salam had said there was no equivalency between Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s “incendiary comment” that cast a particular minority community under a cloud of suspicion in the aftermath of the Kalamassery blasts and CPI(M) State secretary M.V. Govindan’s preliminary observation that the explosions at the evangelical meeting could be a nefarious attempt to divert public attention from Kerala’s solidarity with Palestinians.

(Mr. Govindan later clarified that he had sought a thorough investigation into the blasts that claimed three lives and injured scores last week. He said he had not jumped the gun to broadcast a schismatic message or divisive bias against any group.)

Mr. Balan said the IUML had “under duress from the Congress” rejected the CPI(M) invitation to participate in a seminar against UCC.

‘Change of heart’

“The IUML’s decision to overtly align with the CPI(M) for the Palestine cause reflected a change of heart that has profound political implications for Kerala. The IUML’s U-turn is also a critique of the Congress’s ambivalent position on the Palestine cause. It also signals that the IUML has emerged out of the Congress’s penumbra”, Mr. Balan said.

(Earlier, the IUML and the CPI(M) had criticised Congress Working Committee member Shashi Tharoor’s purported reference to Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Both parties termed Palestine’s opposition to expansionist Israel as “legitimate” resistance.)

The IUML appeared caught off-guard by CPI(M)‘s “overtures”. E.T. Mohammed Basheer, the IUML’s national organising secretary, who had triggered a debate by expressing willingness to participate in the CPI(M) rally, sought to clarify his stance on November 3.

Mr. Basheer said provincial politics had no bearing on the IUML’s decision to muster public opinion against Israel’s “genocidal” attack on the “oppressed and terrorised” people of Palestine.

He said the IUML State leadership meeting on November 4 would finalise whether it should attend the CPI(M) ‘s Palestine rally. Mr. Salam also echoed a similar sentiment.

A United Democratic Front (UDF) insider said the IUML was acutely mindful that the CPI(M)‘s gambit to isolate the Congress politically could drive a wedge in the Opposition alliance.

He said the IUML wanted to prevent such a fallout since it had no serious differences of opinion with the Congress. The Congress has signalled that it would empathetically consider the IUML’s demand for more seats in northern Kerala in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

He said the IUML was also reportedly disgruntled that the Congress was yet to use its national INDIA bloc pulpit to deliver a strong and unequivocal message of solidarity with the Palestine cause.

In contrast, the UDF person said the CPI(M) had, at least on the face of it, attempted to steal a march over the Congress by finding a common cause with the IUML and influential social organisations by holding meetings in mid-October to mobilise public opinion against Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

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