Kozhikode: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is treading a cautious path in Malabar in the light of the aggressive attempt being made by the CPM to win over a sizeable chunk of Muslim Legue rebels to its side. The CPM is planning to widen its base among the Muslim community by attracting the League leaders and ordinary workers, who are currently not in good terms with the party leadership for various reasons.
Emboldened by the Pinarayi government's return to power, the CPM has intensified the move to lure middle-level Muslim League leaders and workers to its side.
Though the CPM has managed easily to come to power again in the state, the party considers it as very important to take along with it the maximum number of people from the Muslim community in Malabar. The party's assessment is that the Muslim community had stood behind the CPM in large numbers in the last Assembly polls compared to the previous polls.
This development has galvanised the party to work for consolidating its base in Malabar further. As part of this strategy, the CPM leadership has instructed the local leadership at various places to give membership to the Muslim League followers, who are now on a collision course with their party leadership.
The CPM is first trying to lure away those who are poised against the League leadership for various reasons. The CPM committees at the local-level have been asked to take a headcount of such people in each area and try to bring the maximum number of such people to the party fold before the end of the ongoing party conferences.
During the last local body polls, the Muslim League took a stern decision not to give candidature to those who fought the elections thrice. Due to this decision, many leaders, who had been functioning as local body members and chiefs for the last many years, had to make way for the younger generation. Most of the League leaders, who lost their seat of power, are now disillusioned with the party. The CPM has asked its committees to bring those people to the party by offering them suitable posts.
There are many leaders in the Muslim League who are still sulking over the denial of candidature to them by the party in the last local body and Assembly polls. Besides, there are many local-level groups in the League who are opposing the official leadership. The CPM's calculation is that more cadres will quit Muslim League as a result of the scenario that party has to remain in the Opposition for a total of 10 years.
Discussions with Haritha
The CPM leadership has given clear instructions to the lower level committees on what kind of treatment be given to those who join the party from the IUML. Those League leaders who do not hold any posts right now will be admitted by the CPM to its fold. Once joined, the CPM would give party posts to those League leaders who had earlier worked as local body members or functionaries.
It is also directed that the party committee should shower maximum benefits to the clubs and groups who are opposed to the Muslim League at the local-level. The schemes of agencies like Youth Welfare Board can be used for this purpose. Attempts should also be made to attract Muslim women to the party. The activities of agencies like Kudumbashree should be made more broad based.
Earlier, the CPM had held discussions with the rebel office-bearers of MSF's women wing Haritha, who came out openly against the League leadership. The CPM had made overtures to Haritha leaders, who had convened a press meet to criticise the League leadership for not taking any action against the anti-woman outbursts of some MSF leaders.
Another point is that many mosques have not received door numbers from the government due to technical issues coming under the building rules. The CPM party committees are asked to take initiative to remove such hurdles and allot building numbers for such mosques at the earliest.
League intensifies party work
The Muslim League, which is facing desertions and open challenges from rebels, is viewing seriously the issues faced by the party. The party has realised that it is politically dangerous to follow the same old style of functioning in the changed scenario.
The League began a major organisational revamp after the Assembly polls to make the party all the more strong. A policy document has been prepared by the party think tank on how the party should function in the changing times. The senior leaders of the party reached out to the district-level to brief this policy shift to the leaders in detail.
Now, the IUML is settling even minor local-level disputes existing among partymen. The party is also in the process of taking disciplinary action against those who had worked against the party candidates in the last polls. The League is also planning to switch over to a cadre system to be set up on the basis of the newly-prepared policy document.
The regional and local-level leaders have apprised the state leaders that the negative attitude of certain local party leaders are blocking new entrants to the party. After the district-level meetings, the League leadership is going to start a series of meetings at the mandalam-level. The League is also planning to brief the local leaders on how to deal with the CPM's attempt to engineer defection in the party.
Salam slams CPM
IUML state general secretary P M A Salam said that though CPM had attempted to destabilise Muslim League and thereby win the psyche of the Muslim community, the history was that it all got defeated.
"The IUML leaders and workers would never fall prey to the cheap tricks of the CPM. The CPM can just make a futile attempt," he said.
Salam also asked the CPM to first put its house in order before finding fault with the League. "In places like Ponnani, Edappal, Palakkad and Taliparamba, violent incidents took place during CPM party conferences. The row was mainly about the entry of new people from other political parties and the stripping of the party posts of long-serving CPM leaders for the sake of accommodating turncoats."
"The CPM is giving unwanted publicity when someone joins their party. But the fact is that more people from CPM and CPI are joining Muslim League and Congress. But hiding all these facts, the CPM is trying to rope in people by misusing government machinery. Anyway, CPM is not a challenge to Muslim League. The irony is that those who had left Muslim League earlier are now trying to make a comeback to the party," he added.