No sooner has the campaign for the Assembly elections kicked up, the state electoral scene is witnessing a never-before-seen politicking over wooing of communal and religious vote banks. Opportunistic gimmicking by the three fronts has turned the spotlight on undesirable elements raising their political hood this time around.
The politics of communalism, community and religion has now taken centre-stage in the current poll campaigns. On one hand, both UDF and LDF have raised allegations of tacit communal alliances against each other. On the other, BJP is trying to woo the sizeable Christian vote bank. Noticeably senior leaders, including party state chiefs, the CM and the opposition leader too have been party to such campaigns.
The Left had unleashed a major attack against UDF’s alleged truck with the Welfare Party during the local body polls. Having reaped actual gains from the tactic, CPM has now gone a step ahead by painting the UDF as communal, while simultaneously targeting IUML. The Left has accused IUML of attempting to join hands with insidious forces like Jamaat-e-Islami.
Though UDF did try to retaliate by raising one-off incidents of the Left getting support from SDPI in certain pockets, the ploy turned out to be a dud. That’s when the Congress flashed its Sabarimala trump card to hopefully lock in the Left.
In an obvious move to counter the Left’s communal card, UDF has played a religious card against it. Curiously, the attempt by both fronts is to woo the majority vote bank. Hoping to cash in on the Sabarimala factor and bring back memories of the 2019 Lok Sabha Left debacle, UDF is banking on Sabarimala to win the masses over. The Congress even went on to challenge the LDF to make its stance clear on women entry into the hill shrine. Not at all keen to take up the bait, LDF has decided to cleverly keep the issue at bay, citing legal implications.
BJP, unsure of how the Sabarimala card might end up, is yet to reveal its hand. It, however, hopes to reap dividends on another front — the Christian vote base. Wooing the Church factions, the BJP has already declared that the Christian voters would play a crucial role this time.Having won the Jose K Mani faction of KC(M) from UDF, the Left is more or less confident of dealing with this onslaught by BJP. Whether UDF would be able to counter this threat remains to be seen.
The community and religious institutions are also doing their bit, issuing regular warnings and alerts to all parties to ensure their interests are protected. Evidently, Kerala politics seems to be shifting base from ideology politics to power politics, observed political commentator J Prabhash. Kerala politics has lost the moral timber it once had, he said.
“Even though all of them lash out against communalism, all of them are now trying to hobnob with communal elements. The CM is holding talks with community organisations. The UDF and the BJP too are trying to woo such elements. Kerala politics used to claim for itself high moral grounds. They seem to have left all that behind without any scruples,” he said.The Left, which once used to disprove such charges against it, is now trying to justify its communal stance.
“Earlier if political parties were attempting to occupy a ‘Leftist’ space, all of them now seem to be preoccupied with attempting to occupy a ‘Rightist’ corner. As if they are saying, the Left is not right, but the Right is right,” he added.
Opportunistic gimmicking by the fronts has turned the spotlight on undesirable elements raising their political hood. Politics of communalism, community and religion has now taken centre stage in campaigns.