Congress faces dilemma over Ayodhya consecration ceremony attendance

The Congress party in Kerala found itself entangled in a controversy over its leaders attending the Ayodhya consecration ceremony.

| Updated: 29 December, 2023 1:13 pm IST
Congress in dilemma over attending Ayodhya consecration ceremony.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a political deadlock, the Congress party in Kerala found itself entangled in a controversy over its leaders attending the Ayodhya consecration ceremony. The main ally, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), and influential Muslim bodies, including ‘Samastha,’ have expressed concerns, raising questions about the party’s commitment to secularism.

The IUML, a key ally of the UDF (United Democratic Front), has signalled discontent over statements by various Congress leaders planning to attend the ceremony on January 22nd in Ayodhya.

An editorial in ‘Suprabhaatham,’ the mouthpiece of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama (SAMASTHA), stated, “The Congress stand that the party can attend the ceremony is only meant to prevent depletion of Hindu votes in North India. It is the soft Hindutva approach of the Congress that has taken the party, which ruled the country for 36 years, to the present situation.”

This development came as the CPI(M) successfully established connections with SAMASTHA, considered the backbone of IUML.

IUML state secretary PMA Salam suggested that Congress leaders should take a wise path, hinting that their attendance at the consecration ceremony could impact the relationship between IUML and Congress in Kerala.

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P M A Salam emphasised, “Before every election, it has been the practice of BJP to whip up communal sentiments. In the past, there has been communal violence. Even now, exploiting a communal agenda is the BJP’s strategy. None should fall into that trap.”

The Congress leadership has distanced itself from media inquiries, with KPCC President K Sudhakaran stating that the AICC will make the final decision on whether party leaders should attend. Leader of opposition VD Satheeshan echoed a similar sentiment.

AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal remained elusive about leaders attending the ceremony, stating, “What is the party’s stand? On January 22, you will know who is participating… They invited us. We are very much thankful to them for inviting us.”

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In contrast, the CPI(M) national leadership has made it clear that they will not participate in the event. Sitharam Yechury, CPI(M) national secretary, stated earlier that his party would boycott the ceremony.

In response, the BJP in Kerala has called on Congress to clarify its stance on whether its leaders will participate in the grand ceremony at Ayodhya. BJP state president K Surendran questioned, “The Congress leaders in Kerala should make their stand clear. Till now, they have not spoken their mind. Are they afraid of the IUML or Samastha?”

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