The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) ruled out any concord with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] in its attempt to forge an eclectic front against the Centre’s bid to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).
Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan, who chaired a UDF leadership conclave here, said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reignited the UCC debate to divide society on religious lines ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
He said the BJP aimed at imposing a UCC to further the Sangh Parivar’s Hindu majoritarian nationalist agenda. It sought to ride roughshod over personal laws that governed the marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and charity of minorities, particularly Muslims, to appease the Hindu far right.
Mr. Satheesan said the CPI(M), instead of aligning with secular democratic forces, mean-spiritedly exploited the UCC debate to sow divisions in the UDF. It played to the BJP’s national agenda to weaken the Congress.
Mr. Satheesan said the CPI(M) burned its fingers by attempting to talk Indian Union Muslim League and pro-UDF Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama (All Kerala Ulama Organisation) into forswearing the Congress in the larger fight against UCC.
He said the Samastha informed the UDF that its decision to attend a CPI(M) seminar on UCC would not mar its legacy relationship with the UDF. Mr. Satheesan said the CPI(M) failed to gauge that the country was at a crossroads. “Instead of honourably resisting India’s drift to fascism, the CPI(M) cynically chose to fish in troubled waters for an elusive electoral dividend by attempting to cut the ground under the UDF’s feet,” Mr. Satheesan said.
The UDF concluded that the CPI(M) stance on the UCC was duplicitous. For one, a galaxy of CPI(M) leaders, including EMS, had rallied against Sharia and argued for a UCC. The CPI(M) expelled M.V. Raghavan for attempting to correct the party’s anti-Muslim line.
Mr. Satheesan dared the CPI(M) State secretary to renounce EMS and E.K. Nayanar’s “pro-UCC and anti-Sharia” positions and embrace Raghavan’s pro-minority “alternative political line”. He said the CPI(M) was shedding crocodile tears for the Muslims with an eye on minority votes.
Mr. Satheesan said the CPI(M) entered into a tacit pact with the BJP to save its leaders from investigations by the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The CPI(M) reciprocated by letting BJP leaders accused of electoral fraud and hawala transactions off the hook. “The CPI(M) was the BJP’s B-team in Kerala,” he said.
The UDF would rope in social organisations across the religious spectrum to resist the UCC. It would also organise Statewide protests in September to spotlight the LDF government’s “wrongdoings.”