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CPI(M) in Kerala trying to turn UCC into Hindu-Muslim issue for political gains: Cong

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KANNUR/KOCHI, July 3 (PTI): Upset over the overtures by the ruling CPI(M) in Kerala to Congress’ key ally IUML in connection with the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), the grand old party on Monday alleged the Left party was trying to turn it into a Hindu versus Muslim issue for gaining political mileage.

A day after CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan reached out to Muslim organisations in the state, including IUML, for discussions on the UCC issue, the Congress claimed that the Left party was “walking the same path” as the BJP that was allegedly trying to create communal unrest and divide the people by pushing for implementation of the UCC.

The ruling Left government, meanwhile, said the reaction of the Congress indicated their apprehension over both the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the CPI(M) sharing similar views regarding the UCC.

AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said his party was in agreement with the 2018 finding of the Law Commission that UCC was “unnecessary and not desirable”.

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“However, in our state (Kerala), some are trying to turn it into a Hindu versus Muslim issue and the CPI(M) is championing such efforts. They are saying it is a Hindu-Muslim issue. It is not something that would affect only one particular religion, it will affect the entire nation,” he told reporters of Malayalam media organisations in Delhi.

Venugopal, also a Rajya Sabha MP, said Congress was taking at face value the obvious concerns and apprehensions of its ally IUML and the Muslim community and the party’s stand on UCC would be made clear in the coming Parliamentary session.

Speaking along similar lines, leader of opposition (LoP) in the Assembly V D Satheesan said: “The BJP is trying to turn it into a Hindu-Muslim issue and create communal strife to gain political mileage out of it and the CPI(M) is adopting the same path in Kerala.”

He also cautioned against answering the CPI(M) call for protests or agitations against the UCC, saying the Left party was yet to withdraw allegedly false cases lodged against those who participated in the anti-CAA protests in the state.

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Satheesan said the Congress and the opposition UDF led by it had on several occasions in the Assembly demanded that the cases against the CAA protestors be withdrawn and the government had assured it would do so.

“Till date not even one case has been withdrawn and those involved are walking in and out of courts. So, I would request CPI(M) to first withdraw those cases before starting any protests or agitations against UCC,” he said.

The LoP alleged that there was every possibility that the CPI(M) would lodge cases against those protesting against the UCC as the Left party has “double standards”.

“On one side, they will support protests; on the other they will lodge cases against protestors to appease the other side. Therefore, they have double standards. Their stand is not sincere,” Satheesan contended.

IUML MLA M K Muneer indicated a similar view when he said that if CPI(M) and Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan were sincere in their stand regarding UCC, they should first withdraw the cases lodged against protestors in connection with the anti-CAA protests.

The Left government, however, contended that such demands by the opposition were only aimed at creating hurdles in the path of opposing the UCC.

State finance minister K N Balagopal said the cases cannot be simply withdrawn by the government and have to be done by following the procedure laid down in the law as the judiciary does not come under the administration.

Regarding the LoP’s statements on the issue, Balagopal said that Satheesan was probably concerned over the fact that IUML shared similar views as the CPI(M) on the UCC issue.

The minister said that he welcomes the IUML’s stand that there should be discussions on the issue of implementing UCC and that it cannot be imposed arbitrarily as the Centre was allegedly trying to do.

“On that aspect, we welcome their stand. It is good,” he said.

As the state government welcomed the IUML’s stand on the issue, Muslim League MLA P M A Salam indicated his appreciation for the CPI(M)’s decision to oppose the UCC.

“It is good they will oppose the UCC and that they will cooperate with democratic secular forces in that regard,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) chief K Sudhakaran said he was waiting for the national leadership’s decision on the UCC.

On being asked about CPI(M) state secretary M V Govindan’s remark a day ago that IUML can also join the seminar that would be organised by the Left party, Sudhakaran told reporters in Kochi that the statement deserves no response.

“What connection does he have with IUML? Did IUML say it will go with CPI(M)? You will have to ask him (Govindan) what was the intention behind his statement,” the KPCC chief said.

The CPI(M) state secretary on Sunday at a press conference held in Thiruvanathapuram had said that the Left party would be organising a seminar with regard to the UCC issue and would invite all parties which are not communal.

Govindan had also said that even Congress-ally IUML can attend the seminar, but added that the grand old party would not be invited as it did not have a “coherent stand” on the issue.




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