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CPM brings 'ally' PDP out in the open

CPM brings 'ally' PDP out in the open

Author: Shaju Philip
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: March 21, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/cpm-brings-ally-pdp-out-in-the-open/437220/

Indicating the emergence of a new Left alliance in Kerala, the CPI(M) on Friday shared dais with the People's Democratic Party of Abdul Nazer Madani, who is in the thick of Terror charges and alleged links with Indian Mujahideen's co-founder Sainudheen alias Sattar Bhai.

Inaugurating the election convention of LDF candidate A Sambath at Attingal, CPI(M) Politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan was flanked by PDP working chairman Poonthura Siraj. Though PDP is not a partner of the LDF, the presence of Madani's second in-command has raised many eyebrows in political circles. While Siraj was given a pride of place, RSP legislator A A Azeez was relegated to the second row.

This is the first time that the CPI(M) has openly embraced a Muslim outfit, which is yet to prove its secular credentials. The party has already accepted the PDP candidate in Ponnani as the Left Independent, disregarding protests from its junior companions, the CPI and the RSP.

Embarrassing Left leaders, Siraj took a dig at RSP national general secretary T J Chandrachoodan who had opposed the PDP plan to fix the Left candidate in Ponnani. "The strength of the RSP should not be undermined on the ground that T J Chandrachoodan is its national general secretary," he said. Siraj also declared that Madani along with Vijayan would attend the LDF election convention in Ponnani.

Though the CPI had strongly opposed the CPI(M) move to give the PDP a slot in the LDF campaigns, the official faction of the CPI(M) had its own way. In fact, the PDP has become an LDF partner at a time the CPI and the RSP have been sulking over the raw deal meted out to them in the seat sharing exercise. Besides, the JD(S) is unlikely to stay on in the LDF after being denied its Kozhikode seat.

According to the Left sources, the CPI(M) has a larger gameplan in experimenting with a new partner. The party expects the PDP would help fetch votes from several Muslim organisations traditionally opposed to the Indian Union Muslim League, an ally of the Congress. If any of the LDF partners quit the alliance in future, the PDP could be given a berth. Hence, bringing that party into the mainstream was vital for the future plans of the CPI(M), the sources said.

When terror charges were raised against Madani, the CPI(M) leaders had refuted the allegations. They had maintained that Madani and his party had undergone a major transition, even terming the IUML as a communal party.

During the 2006 Assembly election, the PDP had supported the LDF. However, it was not allowed to move along with the Left in the electioneering.

Meanwhile, the dominant faction in the CPI(M) has decided to defend Madani. Though CM V S Achuthanandan had said that the Government would look into the allegation that Madani and his family had terror links, Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the probe against Madani was a closed chapter.

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