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Once bitten, not twice shy

india Updated: Aug 17, 2010 21:22 IST

Threatened by political irrelevance, the CPI(M) appears ready to make a Faustian pact with dyed-in-the-wool communal parties like the People's Democratic Front headed by the controversial Abdul Nassar Madani. This is why the comrades in Kerala dragged their feet over handing over Madani, an accused in the Bangalore serial blasts of 2008, to Karnataka. However, given that Madani defiantly refused to surrender following a summons, the Kerala and Karnataka police have had no choice but to arrest him. This comes as bad news for the Left that has been indulgent to a fault with the cleric whose hand has been evident in various acts of terror. It was in the last Lok Sabha polls that CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat openly cosied up to Madani. Far from keeping Muslims in the Left's fold, they voted handsomely for the Congress.

Now with the assembly elections scheduled for 2011, the Karatian bandwagon seems determined to go down the same path of embracing communal elements on the grounds that this will stop Muslims from going to the opposite camp. Either the comrades are a little wanting upstairs or they are very poor politicians. Kerala's Muslims have little time for the Madani brand of fundamentalism. And they are able to discern the unholy nature of the alliance between the Left and the likes of Madani. Even if we were to assume that the Left was doing this as part of today's politics of opportunism, it makes little sense. The same trouncing that it got in the Lok Sabha elections is likely to be repeated unless it comes up with some concrete and positive agenda. Even as far as political partners go, Madani is a spent force. However, the nuisance value of Madani and his ilk should not be discounted.

There is a growing element of fundamentalism that respects no Marxian dialectic or any secular democratic norm. It's such elements who chopped off a lecturer's hand recently allegedly for blasphemy. The Left's support for Madani can only embolden such divisive and destructive people. Mr Karat, who calls the shots from his eyrie in AKG Bhawan in Delhi, might do well to study the uncompromisingly principled stand taken by Kerala's communist giants like A.K. Gopalan and E.M.S. Namboodiripad. It's unthinkable that either of them would have had any truck with a person like Madani for electoral gain. It's this that has kept the party afloat in the state for so long. Unleashing the forces of fundamentalism isn't likely to serve the goal of besting the Left's political opponents. But once this malevolent genie that is already half out of the bottle is free, the Left will lose whatever little respect and political mind space it still enjoys. And God's own country will be left to the forces of darkness.