UDF counters ‘demonisation’ of IUML

Accuses LDF of stoking Islamophobia, says it will only benefit BJP most

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has made a concerted pitch to counter what its leaders described as “demonisation” of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The party reportedly felt the Left Democratic Front’s (LDF) bid to "stir prejudice" against the IUML to polarise voters on religious lines had fallen on receptive ears, especially among the Christian community in central and south Kerala.

The "Islamophobic" propaganda reflected in the erosion of traditional UDF votes in the local body polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had also electorally benefited from the bogey of radical Islam raised by the LDF.

A party insider said several external factors had caused the adverse focus on the IUML politics. In January, the Syro Malabar Catholic Church had passed a resolution expressing concern over the “rising cases of Love Jihad.” The Synod saw an Islamist plot that targeted young Christians.

Soon, the LDF slammed a top IUML leader for endorsing the Turkey government’s decision to change the iconic Hagia Sophia’s status from a historical museum to a mosque. His position appeared consistent with that of radical Islamist organisations. The IUML newspaper, Chandrika, had carried the leader’s opinion piece prominently.

The IUML’s stance prompted LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan to state that the party had gained a definite Islamist edge. Soon, he portrayed the IUML as a “Trojan Horse” for Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamist outfits to gain control of the UDF.

The UDF leaders had overtly courted the Welfare Party of India (WPI ) in the run-up to the local body polls. The LDF had blamed the IUML for the "alliance".

The Congress has attacked the "hostile Islamophobic drift" the LDF and BJP leaders had allegedly brought into the campaign.

On Friday, two Metropolitans of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Yakoob Mar Irenaios and Geevarghese Mar Yulios, called on IUML State president Panakkad Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal at his residence in Malappuram. They termed the visit "a friendly call".

Simultaneously, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy called on Mor Baselios Thomas 1 of the Jacobite Syrian Church at his headquarters at Putnehkurishu in Kochi. They had also met the SNDP Yogam and NSS leadership.

The Kerala Yatra by Mr. Chennithala will attempt to bring all communities on board.

Source: Read Full Article