Updated: January 10, 2022 4:46:51 pm
In another attempt to woo religious people, the CPI(M) on Monday said there was nothing in its constitution that stopped such people from joining the party.
Addressing the party’s district conference in Kozhikode, state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said, “The CPI(M) is a party that gives membership to religious people. The party constitution does not say that membership should not be given to religious people. The CPI(M) is not against any religion or faith. A religious person in the party will have the freedom to attend places of worship,” he said.
To buttress his point, the CPI(M) politburo member quoted Russian revolutionary Lenin. “Lenin has answered the question whether religious people can join the Communist party. Lenin said that even priests could join the Communist party. There is a deliberate attempt to keep the religious away from the party saying the CPI(M) is against religion,” Balakrishnan said.
Attacking the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a Congress ally in Kerala, the CPI(M) politburo member alleged that the IUML was a religion-based party guided by the ideology of Jamaat-e-Islami. “The League has lost its clout among the faithful,” he said.
Balakrishnan’s statements come at a time when the Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama, an influential body of traditional Muslim clerics close to the IUML, appears confused over its approach towards the CPI(M) and its government. Samastha has had a clear sway over the political matters of the IUML, some whose leaders are also associated with the clerics’ body.
After the Left Democratic Front assumed office for a second consecutive term in last May, Samastha has dropped enough hints that the IUML-backed Muslim clerics’ body wants friendly ties with the CPI(M)-led government.
Last week, a district conference of the clerics’ body in the IUML stronghold of Malappuram passed a resolution urging Muslims to remain vigilant against Communist ideology and “the attempts to spread atheism”. However, a day later Samastha’s president, Sayed Mohammed Jifri Muthukoya Thangal, distanced himself from the resolution “that did not have his consent”.
And the CPI(M) has been trying to drive a wedge between the IUML and Samastha. When the IUML decided to launch a massive campaign against the Left government’s decision to hand over Waqf Board appointments to government bodies, the Muslim clerics’ organisation distanced itself from the party’s campaign. The CPI(M) could not only pull back Samastha from the IUML-sponsored agitation, but also establish a direct link with the organisation. Also, the CPI(M) has been harping on the IUML’s alleged links with the Jamaat-e-Islami, an organization Samastha has often kept at distance.
It may be recalled that a decade back, a “rectification document” of the CPI(M) had urged party members not to practise religion. A few leaders such as A P Abdullakutty, now a national vice-president of the BJP, and Dr K S Manoj, a former president of the Kerala Catholic Youth Movement who later became a CPI(M) member in the Lok Sabha, had then quit the party over its stand towards religion.
The Marxist party’s outreach to the religious people is seen as dilution of its ideology. Early last year M V Govindan, a CPI(M) central committee member, stated that dialectical materialism (which is reckoned as the foundation of Communist ideology) was not practical in the present Indian context.
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