Thiruvananthapuram: The UDF leadership meeting, held in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, witnessed a heated debate on the comment made by the Bishop of Pala that certain communities in Kerala face the threat of narcotic 'jihad'.
The Indian Union Muslim League, one of the major stakeholders of the UDF, expressed its displeasure over the remarks made by the Bishop. While terming the comment as quite unfortunate, the Muslim League leaders said such statements that would create misunderstanding in the society could have been avoided. They said it was the responsibility of those who made such statements to bring further clarity on the subject.
E T Muhammed Basheer, MP, was very vocal in his criticism, while other Muslim League leaders like PK Kunjalikutty and M K Muneer kept restraint while speaking out against the statement of the Pala Bishop.
'Don't antagonise the Church'
However, the Kerala Congress (Joseph) leaders, who spoke at the meeting, tried to echo the sentiments of the Christian church on the issue, without rejecting the issues raised by the Muslim League. They said it was not fair to blame only one group for the controversy.
They pointed out that the Church itself had made it clear that the Pala Bishop's comment did not aim at any single community. Both the Muslim and Christian communities have always stood with the UDF. If anyone exploits the comments made by the Pala Bishop, it will adversely affect the UDF. So, the UDF should not antagonise the Syro-Malabar Church, the Kerala Congress leaders added.
Sudhakaran, Satheesan lauded
All the UDF leaders lauded KPCC president K Sudhakaran and Opposition Leader in the Assembly V D Satheesan for their conciliatory efforts aimed at maintaining unity among various religious groups.
Tough postures hereafter
Satheesan told the meeting that the UDF would not support any comment from any religious group which smacked of communal flavour.
He said the UDF could no longer go without taking a strong stance on emerging political and social issues. "Silence is no longer a solution. On this issue, the UDF tried to enforce secularistic ideals by talking to all those who expressed different views. All had given creative support in this regard," he said.
Missing we-feeling in front
A common feeling for the UDF should be developed among constituent parties up to the grassroots level in order to ensure a good victory in the coming elections.
Instead of thinking on separate party lines by each constituent party, a common feeling for UDF is the need of the hour. Even the candidate from a small political party is an important candidate for the whole LDF and the CPM. The leaders of constituent parties pointed out that this spirit was missing in the UDF and it led to the defeat at the hustings.
The leaders further said that the social engineering done by Pinarayi Vijayan and his team brought many groups and communities, who had earlier stood behind the UDF solidly, to the LDF camp. The present crisis is a result of the CPM's nefarious designs of fomenting trouble between communities and between members of the same community.
The Congress leadership assured that there would be marked change in the style of functioning of the UDF apparatus from now onwards. The UDF meeting began at 10 am and ended at 5 pm. All the leaders attended the meeting full-time.
The UDF Assembly constituency-wise conventions would be held from October 15 to November 15 as part of strengthening the organisation of the front.
According to UDF convenor M M. Hasan, the meeting of the UDF district chairmen and convenors, slated for September 28, has been postponed to October 5.
The convention of the newly formed mandalam committees would be held in December. The State convention to be attended by all the UDF office-bearers working at different levels, would be held in January.