A prominent CPI leader from the Muslim community, M Rahmatullah, has quit the Left and joined Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League, accusing the Communists of losing touch with the minorities.
Rahmattullah also accused the CPI of being part of a “new politics” that neglected the Christian and Muslim minorities of Kerala — an obvious reference to the so-called ‘soft Hindutva’ of Achuthanandan. Achuthanandan, the outgoing CPIM chief minister of Kerala, had made controversial statements during his tenure, including one that some Muslim extremists were trying to convert Kerala into a Muslim state.
Rahmattullah pointed out that his own party, the Communist Party of India (CPI) — CPI(M)’s junior partner — was moving towards ‘majority appeasement.’
“This is the beginning of a new politics by the left parties,” he said at a press conference in Malappuram, the stronghold of the Muslim League.
He said that he had been leading a fight inside the party to make it more sensitive towards the minorities and give more seats to Muslims and Christians.
He also pointed out that all four of CPI’s ministers in the outgoing Left government were Hindus.
“In the first list of 23 candidates for the [just concluded] election, there was not even a single Muslim. How did it happen if CPI was indeed a secular party?” he asked.
He also pointed out that his efforts at getting a Muslim chairman for the Kerala Public Service Commission — which has the lucrative role of overseeing government appointments — were not fruitful under the Left government.
“Can there be a public service commission in India that is devoid of Muslims? I have been fighting this battle for long inside the CPI,” he said, “It is not enough to give verbal assurances on support to minority community.”