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Again, IUML violates coalition dharma

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the powerful ally of the Congress in the United Democratic Front (UDF) coalition Government, is at it again.

Less than a week after the IUML leaders complained, in person, to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about how disunity in the State Congress is weakening the coalition, the party  has resorted to the politics of brinkmanship to further its own agenda.

The latest provocation from the IUML has come in the form of a move by Welfare Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali to appoint as many as 1,000 youngsters to popularize government programmes among the Muslims as if the community is blissfully unaware of the government’s welfare measures!

The Opposition has been quick to frown upon the decision, which it rightly says will further polarize the State on religious lines besides imposing an additional burden on the state exchequer of Rs four crore. CPI(M) leader and former finance minister Thomas Issac came down heavily on the scheme, saying that it will further strain the already strained communal fabric of the state.

Joining Issac in the rising chorus of protest is Kerala BJP general secretary K Surendran. The latest decision by the IUML minister, said Surendran, provides another example of how the Congress-led UDF Government is meekly acquiescing to that party’s aggressive pursuance of its personal agenda. It goes without saying that the move will further alienate the majority community which is extremely unhappy about the UDF Government’s unabashed minority-appeasement policy.

The IUML minister’s move, which has come despite stiff opposition to the scheme from senior Congress ministers, also explodes sky-high the party’s claim that the UDF’s stability has been threatened mainly by the group rivalry in the Congress. The League leaders conveniently forget that their own words and deeds, from time to time, also menace the coalition’s longevity and cohesion.

The unwarranted IUML move has of course gladdened the rightwing parties like the BJP, and vindicated the claim of community organisations like the Nair Service Society(NSS) and the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam that the Government’s meek surrender to the IUML has resulted in polarization on religious lines, threatening communal amity.

Of course, this is not the first time that the IUML has adopted brinkmanship tactics to have its own way. It all started with the party’s unilateral announcement on a fifth ministerial berth for the party. That act was a blatant assault on the Chief Minister’s prerogative to announce ministerial appointments and allocation of portfolios. It also seriously undermined the CM’s authority and the prestige of his office.Then again, the IUML tried to impose its decision on aid to unaided schools, especially in Malappuram district, its stronghold. The IUML’s aggressive decision forced CM Oommen Chandy to eat his own words!

It’s time the IUML indulged in serious introspection and stopped blaming the Congress alone for all the ills afflicting the UDF. Will wiser counsels prevail? If past record is anything to go by, chances of the IUML mending itself are bleak.
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