Wooing Muslim community through detractors in IUML
Despite the merger of Indian National League (INL) and National Secular Conference (NSC) failing to take off successfully, the Communists Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] leadership is holding its cards close to its chest on sharing seats to its minor partner in the Assembly polls.
What is worrying the CPI(M) , however, is that the INL, which has been inducted into the Left Democratic Front (LDF) fold, would claim two more winnable seats in north Kerala. Ahead of the seat-sharing arrangement, the INL State committee is also holding a meeting to discuss the electoral strategy of the party.
In the 2016 Assembly election, the INL had contested in three seats, one each in Kozhikode, Malappuram, and Kasaragod districts, and lost all of them. The party was disappointed after it was denied a seat in the Lok Sabha polls in 2019 and its performance in the recent local body polls was unimpressive, tallying only around 30 seats.
Incidentally the CPI(M) strategy of wooing disgruntled elements of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) or the Congress, especially those belonging to the Muslim community, had rewarded the Left coalition in the previously held Assembly polls. The LDF-supported nominees — P.T.A. Rahim, Karat Razak, P.V. Anwar, V. Abdurahiman, and K.T. Jaleel — won from the Kunnamangalam, Koduvally, Nilambur, and Thavanur segments respectively.
The CPI(M) will continue with this experiment this time also, though its electoral arithmetic failed to make an impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. But its leadership believes that the electoral ratings will once again favour the LDF through its community diplomacy in the Assembly polls.
On a tight rein
The leadership of the INL rues that though initially the CPI(M) encouraged its merger with the NSC, the Left leaders did not want LDF-backed Independent legislators coming together as a new entity upping its bargaining power in the coalition.
Besides, Koduvally-Kunnamangalam segments have their own politics with an anti-IUML factor always in the reckoning in elections. Mr. Rahim, a former district secretary of the IUML, who left the party a decade ago, holds an appreciable sway among the Muslim community in the region. He had won in the 2006 and 2011 polls as an Independent with LDF support.
In the case of Mr. Razak, he was the general secretary of the IUML in Koduvally Mandalam and was also president of erstwhile Koduvally grama panchayat for 10 years. And he is now a Left-Independent legislator.
In the local body polls, controversial businessman Karat Faisal, who stood as an Independent candidate after he was denied a seat, won the Chundappuram ward in Koduvally. Here, INL nominee Abdul Rasheed polled no votes.
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