Psyche of Kerala above communalism, sectarianism

Left Democratic Front rule in State highly autocratic, says IUML leader

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the largest constituent in the United Democratic Front (UDF) after the Congress, appears well set to take on the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the election.

Its Malappuram district president Sayed Sadikali Shihab Thangal has proved time and again that he can lead the party from the front. Back from a week-long pre-election rally that pulled large crowds across Malappuram, Mr. Thangal displayed his unwavering leadership skills through the IUML’s candidate selection.

In a candid chat with The Hindu, Mr. Thangal says that the IUML was facing this election with the utmost socio-political responsibility that it had faced never before in its history.

Why so important? What makes the upcoming election different from the past ones?

Never did we have a dictatorial regime like what we witnessed in the last five years. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) had ruled Kerala several times before. But never did Kerala see an autocratic government. The political ethos existing in the State does not favour a dictatorial regime. The people want to regain the glory of democratic spirit.

Do you think political parties are responsible for the communal polarisation taking place in the State? Are Muslim splinter groups responsible for it?

The CPI(M) and the BJP are leading from the front to tear apart the famed communal fabric of Kerala for their narrow political gains. Whether in power or not, parties should desist from such nefarious moves. The attempts to destroy communal equilibrium cannot be allowed at any cost. No Muslim splinter group can win in their attempt to create communal divide when strong political fronts exist in the State. The psyche of Kerala is above communalism and sectarianism.

How do you pitch the IUML as a political party in the present context?

The IUML has the most significant role today than ever before. We have a responsibility to safeguard society against forces of sectarianism and communalism. We have always upheld communal harmony, and never sacrificed political integrity for power. When Babrid Masjid was pulled down, we upheld patriotism and communal peace over religious emotions.

The IUML had faced criticism for not offering seats to women in the past. In a historic move, the party has given a seat to a woman this time. How could you circumvent the socio-religious hurdles you faced?

Out of 140 Assembly members, there were only nine women. How could you single out the IUML for the neglect towards women? All parties have been responsible.

By sending a woman to Assembly after quarter of a century, what message are you trying to convey?

Times are changing. Women empowerment is important. Women’s voice should be heard. Women face a lot of problems. We are for their empowerment, and they should be given representation.

As a young leader, can you assure that there will be more women legislators from IUML in the coming years?

This is a good beginning. We will never ignore women. There will definitely be change. We all will have to change in tune with the changing times.

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