Metropolitan says progressive forces should not play the religious card to win votes
Indian Union Muslim League’s credentials (IUML) as a secular party got a much-needed thumbs-up on Monday.
Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, the Metropolitan of Niranam Diocese of Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, decried the attempts to paint the League as a communal party.
The Metropolitian’s Facebook post was widely perceived as a thinly veiled criticism of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] bid to ‘demonise’ the IUML.
He said progressive forces should not play the religious card to win votes. Attempts to depict a Christian-Muslim divide in Kerala would harm the State’s secular fabric. The IUML had upheld secular values in the face of extremely volatile political situations, he said.
However, the CPI(M)) appeared relentless in its criticism of the League.
In an article in Deshabhimani, the party’s newspaper, CPI(M) acting State secretary A.Vijayaraghavan accused the IUML of attempting to divide the citizenry on caste and communal lines.
He said IUML had attempted to marshal the support of backward class social organisations to go on the warpath against the government over extending 10 per cent reservation in government jobs to economically disadvantaged persons from forward communities.
The Congress had promised the same in its election manifesto. But, it lacked the moral courage to dissuade the IUML. The 10 per cent reservation did not infringe on the Constitutionally mandated 50 per cent job quota for backward class and SC/ST communities. The Lok Sabha had legalised the reservation via unanimous legislation.
The CPI(M) had earlier accused the League leadership of toying with radical Islamist ideas. The IUML had opened the door for fundamentalist forces. It had forced the Congress into a coalition with the Welfare Party of India, the political arm of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
The alliance had cost Hindu and Christian votes in Central and South Kerala and hugely benefited the BJP, the CPI(M) had said.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the CPI(M) and BJP had found themselves on the same page for once. Both had attempted to stoke religious extremism by disparaging the IUML.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had resurrected the Sabarimala issue as an election campaign talking point on Sunday to counter the CPI(M) attacks against the IUML. He said the UDF would protect the temple customs undermined by the CPI(M).
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