Abdul Nasser Madani, the chief of the People's Democratic Party, is in the eye of a storm in Kerala after the ruling Left Democratic Front entered into an electoral arrangement with the PDP. Imprisoned for nine years for his alleged role in the Coimbatore blasts, Madani was later acquitted and freed. Only to get a 'royal welcome' back home in Kerala. On his arrival, he publicly declared he became a 'moderate' ever since he came out of the jail. Is he one? Yes, says the Communist Party of India-Marxist. He is not, say almost all other parties.
It was the disputed Ponnani seat that made Madani the most-sought-after man again in Kerala. Though some of the constituents of the Left Front were against having a tie-up with the PDP in Ponnani, CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan had the final say.
In New Delhi, CPI national general secretary A B Bardhan went to the extent of saying that Madani is a terrorist. But the Big Brother CPI-M did not agree with the view and the Madani is having the last laugh.
Since then, it is Madani who gets the biggest political space in the media. The firebrand leader spoke to Arun Lakshman in an exclusive interview at his Kochi residence.
The Kerala election scene is now revolving around the "unholy" alliance made by the Left Parties, more specifically the CPI-M made with you. What do you say?
The campaign on the PDP having an unholy alliance with the Left is intended to divert major serious issues in the state, including the United Progressive Alliance government's failures. I feel there is a concerted effort on the part of certain groups from the (Congress-led) United Democratic Front side to unleash such a malicious campaign.
The PDP is considered as a communal party and there are allegations that you created a communal atmosphere in the state?
The PDP has never been a communal political party. In fact the PDP is always a political party for the people and is actively involved in grassroot activities, not bothering about vote banks. The party and its cadres have been doing tremendous social activities, which helped all communities and the PDP cadres are drawn from all the communities including Hindus, Muslims and Christians. PDP vice-chairman Varkala Raj is a Brahmin and is in the party for the last 15 years. He has climbed the ladder of the party hierarchy starting off as the Varkala block president. The charges against me are as baseless.
Can you mention some of the social activities your organisation?
The PDP was actively involved in bringing solace to the people of Pathanamthitta when the deadly chickungunya epidemic broke out in the area. Our 200 full-time workers of the party were actively working in the area to help the people reeling from the epidemic and the Pathanamthitta district committee of the party bought an ambulance which was put into service. Since then the PDP has been concentrating more on the deprived and oppressed classes and now has 40 ambulances. These are brought not from the contributions from the public, but from the contributions of the party cadres and workers. We have not collected a single paisa from the Gulf countries or other places but have always been supported by the party workers.
You have alleged that the Indian Union Muslim League was targeting you and your party. Is there any truth or is it just a political allegation?
The Indian Union Muslim League is a political party which has direct involvement in the partition of the country. The present Muslim League has not transformed much from the party of 1946 which was directly demanding for the partition of the country. Even the flag of the IUML and that of Pakistan are similar. The League is a political party which does not have any non-Muslim in its ranks, even at the lower-most party office-bearers in Malappuram. Then how can the party claim that it is a secular one. The Muslim League is attacking me because it feels that the oppressed and the suppressed including the Muslim community would flock to the PDP.
Image: CPI-M state secretary and politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan shares the dais with Abdul Nasser Madani at Ponnnani. The meeting became a talking point in Kerala political circles.
Also see: 'I am a Communist who believes in God'