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Muslim parties in Tamil Nadu are divided into bits and pieces

By Md. Ali, TwoCircles.net,

Chennai: In Tamil Nadu you will find more “Muslim” political parties than their followers. There are several of them in Chennai. MMK, Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, India Thowheed Jamath, Indian Union Muslim League, Indian National League and the list goes on. But the only thing which unites them is their utter division into innumerable bits and pieces.

If you want to look at the idea called Muslim politics then, “We are united only in our division” aptly sums up its condition in Tamil Nadu. “There is no unity in our diversity,” again sums up the divided house. They are so much divided that many political analysts believe that Muslim-based politics can’t ever evolve in Tamil Nadu. The division and disunity among Muslim political parties push the cluster of Muslim votes in the state towards a complete state of disintegration because of which they can’t become a big force to reckon with. The other reason being that Muslims in the state are no more than 6-7% and the populace is scattered across the state.

MMK flag “flying high”

You ask anybody with an interest (or even hostility) towards Muslim political parties and s/he will tell you that there are more than 15 factions of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). But let’s leave IUML for now, as it’s a remnant from the history and talk first about the so called Muslim parties which came into being in Tamil Nadu in the last decade or so.

The Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) was formed by a group of former SIMI members including Zainul Abedin, MH Jawahirullah, SM Baqer, S.M. Pasha and others. But within no time it was divided into two parts; TMMK and Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, with Jawahirullah leading the former and P Zanulabedin leading the latter. Subsequently even the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamaath broke into two factions with India Thowheed Jamaath led by SM Qaqer and Tamil Nadu Touhid Jamaath by Zainul Abedin.

Interestingly even the octogenarian S.M. Pasha fell out with Jawahirullah and formed an outfit called Tamil Nadu Muslim Makkal Katchi. But later Mr. Pasha dissolved his party and merged into the parent party TMMK.

Chennai office of Indian Union Muslim League

Now rumors have it that Jawahirullah-led TMMK is facing an avoidable ego clash between Jawahirullah and Haider Ali, one of the founder members of the party. Don’t be surprised if you get the news of TMMK getting further divided.

Then there is the SDPI, the political wing of the Popular Front of India which has fielded several candidates in the state assembly elections. But at present the condition of SDPI in the assembly elections at least, is no more than that of vote cutters which is again a bad news for the Muslim candidates of IUML, MMK and DMK.

Tamil Nadu Indian Union Muslim League led by Dawood Miakhan, grandson of Qaid-e Millat late Mohammad Ismail is another off shoot of the IUML. The Indian National League which was again an off shoot of the IUML, further got divided into two parts, one led by Mohammad Inayatullah and another led by his brother with each claiming to be the real Indian National League and condemning the other as fake one.

Wall poster showing the flag of Tamil Nadu Touhid Jamaath

Roughly about a month back, the IUML Tamil Nadu was further ‘divided’ when Fathima Muzaffar, its women wing coordinator, broke away from her party and started a new party with the same name, claiming to be the real IUML in Tamil Nadu. Interestingly Tamil Nadu unit of IUML is not a recognized party by the Election Commission in the state. The party contests elections on the symbol of the DMK.

There is yet another progressive Muslim League run by Sangam Jabbar who one day will be associated with Ramvilas Paswan’s LJP, the other day with the DMK and the third day with the Congress.

It’s precisely because of this increasing divisions among the Muslim political parties in Tamil Nadu that many believe that it’s practically safe for the Muslim electorates of the state to side with either Amma or Ayyah (a reference to Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi respectively).

With so many divisions taking place in the Muslim parties almost on a daily basis, the only thing that an ordinary Muslim in Tamil Nadu says is that the proverb “the more the better” is detrimental to the interests of the Muslim minority community in the state.