Vijayan's bid to sideline IUML to gain muslims' support

Pinarayi Vijayan's bid to sideline IUML to gain support of Kerala muslims

Vijayan had previously enhanced his rapport with the church leaders by proactively taking up their grievances

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. Credit: PTI Photo

Kerala Chief Minister and CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan has been constantly attacking the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) by giving it a communal tag, this seems to be his political strategy to seek a cut in the Muslim vote bank of Kerala.

During his first term as Chief Minister, from 2016 to 2021, Vijayan enhanced his rapport with the church leaders by proactively taking up their grievances and thereby made inroads into Christian vote banks that were enjoyed by Congress.

CPM had also gained from it in the recent Assembly elections. Now, Vijayan seems to be playing a similar strategy to make inroads into the Muslim vote banks by attacking the IUML, which is a key coalition partner of the Congress, according to political analysts.

Vijayan has alleged that the IUML is a communal party. He also alleged that IUML was dictating terms to the Congress.

Recently, Vijayan foiled a bid by an IUML-backed forum to organise protests in mosques against the Left-front government's moves to entrust recruitment to Kerala Wakf Board to the Public Service Commission.

Vijayan managed to take into confidence the leaders of Samastha Kerala Jem'iyyathul Ulema, a supreme body of Islamic scholars of Kerala.

Veteran political analyst M N Karassery told DH that Vijayan seems to be trying to weaken the IUML by constantly attacking it and giving it a communal colour. In the meantime, he is also developing a good rapport with other Muslim leaders which was evident in the Wakf Board issue.

The decision to give ministerial berth to the lone MLA of the Indian National League, despite it being an insignificant coalition partner in the Left-front, could be also seen as an effort to weaken the IUML.

Karassery also said since Congress lost power for the second consecutive term, the chances of IUML cadres exploring options to allign with the Left-front could not be ruled out in the long run.  

He pointed out that the CPM already managed to make inroads into the Christian community that constitutes 18 per cent of Kerala population (as per 2011 census) and if they gain the backing of the Muslim community, which constitutes 27 percent of the population, the Left-front would be able to remain in power in Kerala without any hassle. Then there is also the considerable fall in vote share of IUML candidates even in its strongholds in North Kerala in the last Assembly polls, Karassery said.

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