The LDF convener has set the tone of the election campaign as the ruling front is planning two regional political rallies across Kerala from the second week of February. The rallies are envisaged to activate the party machinery for the elections.

THE RULING CPI(M)-led LDF alliance in Kerala on Wednesday set the tone of its campaign for the coming Assembly elections, saying the Congress-led UDF is attempting to forge an alliance with religious fundamentalists.

After a meeting of the LDF allies, its convener and CPI(M) state secretary A Vijayaraghavan said: “The Congress is being led by Indian Union Muslim League [the second leading partner in UDF]. Congress wants to make stronger the electoral understanding the UDF has made with religious fundamentalist outfits. At the same time, they are also planning for a deal with the BJP.”

He said a major development of the day is the visit of senior Congress leaders Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala to Panakkad – the hometown of IUML state president Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal. “The message of the visit is very clear. It indicates that the Congress leaders have reduced the party agenda to strengthen its alliance with religion-based forces. The UDF does not represent secular values. They are also going for an electoral understanding with the BJP. In the local body elections, we have seen Congress leaders urging people to vote for the BJP symbol. The LDF would start a massive campaign against this political approach of the UDF,” said Vijayaraghavan.

The LDF convener has set the tone of the election campaign as the ruling front is planning two regional political rallies across Kerala from the second week of February. The rallies are envisaged to activate the party machinery for the elections.

“Our campaign would be mainly based on developmental initiatives of the LDF government and agenda of protecting secularism. UDF cannot politically face the people. They have no qualms to solicit votes for religious fundamentalists,’’ said Vijayaraghavan.

In the recently-held local body elections, which saw the LDF making gains, the CPI(M) had played to hilt the UDF alliance with Welfare Party of India, the political outfit of right wing Jamaat-e-Islami. The Congress later admitted that the tie-up contributed to its poor show in the civic body elections.

Subsequently, the Congress has pushed UDF convener M M Hassan, who forged the deal with the Welfare Party of India, to the backburner of the front’s political deliberations. The party has also openly stated that it would not go for any alliance with the Welfare Party of India.

Christian community, traditionally pro-Congress, have also been critical about the UDF alliance with Welfare Party of India and saw the IUML as a bridge with right-wing Islamic groups.

To retain the political tempo of the local body elections, the CPI(M) continued to attack the UDF over the alleged dominance of IUML in the front. That campaign gained further ground after IUML MP P K Kunhalikutty decided to return to state politics. Besides, the IUML is set to demand more seats from the UDF in the elections, a move which would serve another opportunity for CPI(M) to buttress its argument that IUML is calling the shots.

P K Firoz, general secretary of Youth League, the youth wing of IUML, said the CPI(M) agenda is to communalise the elections and this would only help the BJP. “The CPI(M) may be able to win a few seats in the elections by creating Islam phobia. But in the long run that would help on BJP,’’ he said.

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