LDF, UDF join hands for a symbolic protest against CAA today

Kerala is yet again assuming a pivotal role in firming up an alternative against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Centre by catalysing Opposition unity on issues of national concern.

Sinking serious differences of opinion when leaders of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) join hands for a symbolic protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on Monday, it is expected to set the foundation for a national platform for flagging similar issues of national significance.

A maiden attempt in a similar vein was made by Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac in August when he brought together Finance Ministers of non-BJP States to voice concern over the terms of reference of the 15th Union Finance Commission. It proved to be a success and prompted the Centre to proffer an explanation to clear the air.

Since then, the movement for conserving fiscal federalism had been gaining ground and almost all non-BJP ruled States, except Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, have evinced interest to stand united to take on the Centre.

The Left parties, the CPI(M) and the CPI were the first to cry foul in the State against the CAA and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan went a step ahead to reiterate that the State would not implement the Act which he said, went against the secular credentials of the Constitution. The CPI too had come forward with its strong resentment and had organised protests.

The public pronouncements of Mr. Vijayan as well as the strong stance of the Left had instilled a self-confidence among the minority communities and the decision of the rival fronts for a joint protest has added a new dimension to the movement.

This move is expected to send a message that both fronts are willing to bury differences on larger issues that have a bearing on the State and the country as a whole.

It would naturally galvanise the Opposition to flag more vexatious issues such as the delay in releasing GST compensation and cut in Central transfers and the contentious disinvestment of public sector undertakings in the State more vehemently in Parliament.

Most importantly, it would set the ground for a similar unified movement in other States and also at forums such as the GST Council.

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