Sunday, July 9, 2023, is a significant day in connection with the discussions going on in favour and against Uniform Civil Code (UCC). The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a constituent of Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), declined the invitation, of ruling CPM’s state secretary M.V. Govindan, to join the seminars CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) organizes in Kerala on UCC. The IUML decision was taken in its state leadership meeting held in Malappuram. IUML state president Panakkad Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal told after the meeting that all should stand together against UCC, because it is not the issue of a single community alone, but a national issue. However, he pointed out that every party enjoys the freedom to function in its own style. IUML is the most important constituent in the UDF. But, Congress can respond to this issue most in the entire country. Thangal emphasizes that CPM invited IUML alone, all other constituents were left out. Therefore, in the light of the current political scenario, IUML cannot attend the seminar.
Thangal added that no one can fight UCC by sidelining Congress. Moreover, participation in the seminar would adversely affect Kerala’s political prospects.
M.V. Govindan, on July 8, had said that IUML was invited to the seminar to oppose UCC in cooperation with all ‘like-minded parties’. Congress is not invited, because, they do not have a stand on UCC and fundamentalists.
Observers see CPM’s political ambition when its secretary describes IUML as a ‘like-minded’ party. Because, CPM has been trying to woo IUML since long. Govindan had even gone to the extent of saying that IUML is not communal. He said, on December 9, 2022, that his party had never stated that Muslim League is communal; on the other hand, it works democratically for the welfare of the minorities.
The latest development reported from Panakkad is a rude jolt to CPM since the party has been trying to take out IUML from the UDF and draft in to LDF. They had a large design to rope in IUML so that LDF can bag majority of the assembly seats in Malappuram, a Muslim majority district hence a strong hold of IUML. IUML has also got two MPs (LS) from that district. Therefore, IUML’s capital NO to CPM’s invitation is a bolt from the blue for Govindan and his party. There is valid reason to state that IUML’s stand is unexpected for CPM. First of all, IUML has been enjoying power either in the state or at the Centre or at both simultaneously since the last several decades. But, since 2014, they have no power at Centre as Congress lost power. And, since 2016, they have no clout in state government as UDF lost power and LDF took over. A pressure group party, with its strength confined to two or three districts of a total of 14, cannot go for a long span of time sans power either at Centre of in state.
In the meantime, V.D. Satheesan, Congress leader and LoP in the Kerala Legislative Assembly, countered Govindan’s statement that Congress does not have any stand regarding the UCC. He said, Congress has been always dead against UCC. That is why his party did not implement it despite ruling the country for several decades. On the other hand, CPM, years back, stood for UCC.
Moreover, IUML has been unhappy about the continuous infights in Congress in the state, the big brother in UDF. So, observers thought that IUML might leave UDF and join the LDF bandwagon, for the sake of enjoying bread of power, at the most proper point of time.