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Local body elections get heated up with strange alliances in Kerala

By TwoCircles.net Staff Correspondent,

Kozhikode: Strange equations are coming up in sight when Kerala is fast moving towards the local self-government elections in the end of this month. Though the main fight is between the Congress-led UDF and the CPI (M)-led LDF, there are other equations also with the BJP playing with both fronts. New parties and alliances also are in the picture for the first time in the state’s history.

The BJP, which has not been able to open an account in the Kerala Assembly, has been successful in getting a few panchayat seats. They are also ruling some panchayats. Both the main fronts keep away from the BJP in theory, though they manage to keep a mutual give-and-take relation with the party. Earlier, it was the unholy Co-Lea-B alliance made up of the Congress, Muslim League and the BJP in some places. And now the BJP is joining with the CPI (M) also. The soft-Hindutva policy begun by the CPI (M) after the Parliament elections is not becoming clearer with the new cooperation with the BJP.

Senior BJP leader O Rajagopal yesterday said that the BJP did not find any party as untouchable when it came to the matter of development. Local adjustments should not be considered as alliances, he said. He added that the party decided to cooperate with the CPI (M) in Thrissur with the knowledge of the party leadership. BJP Thrissur district president Balakrishnan had last day stated that the party had made adjustments with the CPI (M) in the local level. Meanwhile, the BJP state president V Muraleedharan denied any alliance with the CPI (M). He added that the party had no adjustments with either of the fronts.

However, CPI (M) state general secretary Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday stated that ‘the party’s policy was that it did not need the support of the BJP’. The allegations of cooperation with the BJP are the result of a conspiracy. The LDF has never decided to keep any communal party together just to get some votes. But, he too took care not to say that the party is not cooperating or would not cooperate in future with the BJP. Meanwhile, state minister V Surendran Pilla said in Thiruvananthapuram that the votes of all, including the BJP, were welcome in the panchayat elections. Votes may be received but, there won’t be any political alliance with the BJP.

In another development, Kerala Congress (B) chairman R Balakrishnapilla said that the party would welcome votes of anybody in the elections. He was answering the query whether the party would welcome the votes of communalists. He said that he followed the policy of the Jesus Christ in the matter that crime sin should be hated, but not the sinner. We do not want the help of extremists, but we won’t say we don’t want their votes. No political leader can say no if the members of an organisation that is gone astray give votes with a good mind. The party would receive the votes of organizations like the PFI, he added.

It could well be doubted that the CPI (M) has been following a soft-Hindutva policy for quite some time, especially after the defeat in the last Parliamentary elections. The Muslim parties cooperating with the LDF gradually went away from the alliance. The INL left its 14-year long cooperation with the LDF as the front has not yet got ready to take the party into the alliance. The CPI (M), however, managed to get a small portion of the INL with the LDF, namely INL Secular. The PDP supported the LDF in the last Parliament elections, but the elections were a great failure for both of them. The CPI (M), which kept the PDP together ignoring the opposition of other parties in the LDF, gradually began to ignore the party. It became crystal clear at the time of the arrest of PDP chairman Abdunnasir Maudany. Maudany was arrested for his alleged role in the 2008 Bengaluru blast case, despite the fact that he was under the B-category protection of the Kerala government since his release from the Coimbatore prison in 2007.

Though the main fight is between the UDF and the LDF, the fronts are not present in several panchayats. There are panchayats in Malappuram district where the Congress, CPI (M), Muslims League and the CPI are fighting with each other, ignoring the alliances. There are rumours that the Congress and the CPI (M) are in secret agreement to defeat the Muslim League in its stronghold. In some places, the Muslim League is in agreement with a group of the Congress supporting former KPCC president K Muraleedharan (who is now not in the party, but is trying to get in). While, the Congress is with the CPI (M), the League has got adjustments with the CPI in several places. The CPI (M)’s adjustments with the BJP in Thrissur got public by the statement of the BJP district president. In spite of all this, each party is also facing loads of rebels.

The emergence of new parties is also a major factor in the coming elections. The Social Democratic Party of India which opened its election politics by the last by-elections to the Assembly in Kannur is fielding it candidates in the panchayat elections. The party has been successful in drawing some discontent leaders of the Congress, Muslim League and the CPI (M). The party and its mother organisation PFI had earlier supported the Muslim League, and there are still rumours that the two are cooperating in some places even now. The Jamat e Islami is entering the election field with local alliances namely Janakeeya Vikasana Munnani, Janapaksha Vikasana Munnani etc. The alliances are formed in local levels cooperating with local social activists, environmentalists, human rights activists etc. The organisation had supported the LDF in the last general and Assembly elections. The Dalit Human Rights Movement, which came into notice with the police’s witch-hunt against the organisation in the name of a murder and later ‘Dalit terrorism’, is also fielding its own candidates in the panchayat elections.