Cong-Shiv Sena Maha tie-up cause for concern in Kerala?

IUML MP E T Mohammed Basheer told DH that though it was too early to react on the Congress-Shiv Sena tie-up in Maharashtra, it might not cause many repercussions in the support of minority community to the Congress-led UDF in Kerala considering the peculiar situations in Maharashtra that led to the alliance.

As the Congress allies with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, Congress camps in Kerala have obvious concerns whether it will create cracks in the support from the minority community it has been enjoying for long in Kerala, especially the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) which is a key coalition partner of the Congress in Kerala.

The IUML leaders have already expressed their concerns to the Congress leadership over the latter's 'soft Hindutva' stand on the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid issue.

Hence the fresh developments might add salt to the wound.

The Muslim community is a decisive vote bank in many parts of Kerala, including in Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's Wayanad constituency. 

The IUML is yet to make its stand clear on the Congress-Shiv Sena tie-up, but are maintaining a wait-and-watch policy, even as Congress leaders in Kerala try to justify the Maharashtra alliance as an inevitable one to keep away the 'biggest common enemy' -- the BJP.

IUML MP E T Mohammed Basheer told DH that though it was too early to react on the Congress-Shiv Sena tie-up in Maharashtra, it might not cause many repercussions in the support of minority community to the Congress-led UDF in Kerala considering the peculiar situations in Maharashtra that led to the alliance.

"The party national leadership is watching the developments and will clearly convey its stand once the minimum common programme of the new alliance is announced," he said.

Congress MLA of Wandoor in Malappuram, a stronghold of the Muslim community, said that a large section of the Muslim community was happy that the BJP was not allowed to form government in Maharashtra.

"The BJP is the biggest common enemy now. Moreover, Shiv Sena is only a regional party with not much base in Kerala. For these reasons, the Congress-Shiv Sena alliance might not have any implications on minority community's support to the Congress," he said.

NCP's Left Front presence in Kerala a relief

The Congress camp in Kerala hopes that the Left Front in the state might not attack the Congress much for the alliance with the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra as the NCP, which is also a key partner in the Maharashtra alliance, is with the CPM-led Left Front in Kerala.

However, Kerala Left Democratic Front convenor A Vijayaraghavan said that the NCP in Kerala was just a small party. Moreover, the NCP's Kerala unit is always more aligned to left parties and hence could not be attacked for the tie-up with the Shiv Sena.

Senior political analyst K A Antony said that the BJP and the Left Front might be able to create some confusion among the minorities in their support to the Congress by triggering issues like Maharashtra alliance and the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. The Left Front might gain from it, only to some extent.

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