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Muslim cleric divides Kerala Left

india Updated: Mar 04, 2009 23:42 IST
Ramesh Babu

Abdul Nasser Madani sat out the last two general elections in jail, but now he's back. And, the Islamist political leader who holds sway over Muslim-dominated constituencies in the state is driving a wedge between two Left partners, the CPI(M) and CPI.

Madani wants his nominee to be fielded from the Ponnani constituency.

The CPI(M), which has a soft corner for him, has promised that the nominee will be accommodated. So it wants the CPI to surrender the Ponnani seat, which is in its kitty. The CPI(M)'s reasoning is that in the last six elections, the CPI candidate has bit the dust here.

The problem is that Madani wants his nominee to contest on his party (Peoples' Democratic Front) symbol, not the hammer and sickle. But the CPI won't relent.

It is ready to give the Ponnani seat, in Malappuram district, to an Independent but insists that he has to contest on the party symbol. Even the CPI's central leaders, including party general secretary A.B. Bardhan, echoed the same. "Why should we talk to Madani? Is he a member of the Left Democratic Front?" Bardhan retorted in Delhi when asked about this.

Upset with this bickering, Madani has made it clear that he will field his party candidates in all Muslim-dominated constituencies.