Making it clear that the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is not a political force content with the ‘scraps thrown’ at it by those in power, the second largest coalition partner in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government has kicked off its Lok Sabha election campaign in north Kerala by announcing that its primary objective is to stop Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Prime Minister nominee Narendra Modi in his tracks.
Interspersing his speech with potshots at its lead partner in the State and voicing the IUML’s apprehensions for the Muslim community in case Mr. Modi came to power in the 2014 elections, Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty said the political situation was grave for minority communities.
He was speaking at a special district convention organised here on Sunday as part of mobilising cadre support for the IUML’s campaign for the election.
“The coming general election will decide the existence of this country, especially our State. The time has come to teach certain people the power of the IUML,” he said to a packed audience here.
Mr. Kunhalikutty expressly weighed the chances of the party going solo in case the situation warrants during the build-up to the poll, even as party leaders felt that the IUML had indeed the ‘thaakat (strength) to stand on its own feet’ if things came to such a turn that secular democracy was threatened.
“This is a grave political situation for us. It is a situation where the government has nothing to offer to the public… a time of political vacuum. It is time that the IUML comes out of its confines as a leading light to unify religious and democratic parties and factions into the next election,” Mr. Kunhalikutty said.
Gauging the support from IUML workers at similar district conventions held in the Malappuram and Wayanad parliamentary constituencies, the Minister said: “Our cadre says we are ready, you start your work.”
Criticising Mr. Modi, who is scheduled to visit the State in a few days, Mr. Kunhalikutty questioned the wisdom of having someone who had a history of communal riots, of genocide, behind him to be elected as Prime Minister.
“Are you sure that he can practise secular democracy and lead the country to prosperity and economic stability?” he asked.
“The one who has to limit himself to Gujarat has now been anointed the BJP’s Prime Minister nominee. If he wins, it will be the end of India. Our history of secularism will end. The nation accepts Mahatma Gandhi as its father. But if the nation accepts this person, also a Gujarathi, truth, religious harmony, and unity will come to an end. There is no place for Hindu communalism among the minority communities,” Mr. Kunhalikutty said.
He hefted his arguments by pitting the Kerala model of development against the Gujarat model, which he said was a result of a well-oiled public relations machinery operated by the Modi camp.
The Minister claimed credit for the Akshaya centres acting as a catalyst to promote IT literacy in the State.
Speaking on the occasion, IUML State president Panakkad Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal said voters should beware of electing leaders who may lead the country to communal riots.
The onus, he said, was on peaceful co-existence by active practice of the rights of the minority communities.