Former League man is CPM poster boy

Indicating that the CPI(M) has deposited high stakes in the Muslim vote bank in the coming LS elections, the party has roped in Muslim League rebel and Left-backed MLA K T Jaleel as one of the five to accompany state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan during his Kerala Yatra, a poll-eve state tour to rev up the party machinery. The journey will begin early February and cover all Assembly constituencies in the state.

Jaleel, who defeated League heavyweight P K Kunhalikkutty in the last Assembly election, is an obvious misfit in the Pinarayi team. While the Muslim leader is not even a primary member of CPI(M), others in the escort are party central committee members A Vijayaraghavan and E P Jayarajan, and state committee members M V Govindan and T N Seema.

The team was fixed during the state committee meeting held last month. Jaleel has been selected for the high profile campaign bypassing several party leaders, let alone those from the Muslim community.

Jaleel, a fire brand SIMI leader during his college days, had been president of the Youth League, the youth outfit of the Muslim League. He parted ways with the League before the last Assembly elections, mainly in protest against the growing clout of the rich in the party.

"I am a hardcore religious man. That CPI(M) has included such a person in the Kerala Yatra reflects upon the party's changing attitude towards religion," said Jaleel. CPI(M) central committee member and convener of the Left Democratic Front, Vaikkom Vishwan told The Indian Express that Jaleel is keen to "propagate CPI(M) policies". Asked about the impropriety of a former SIMI leader emerging as a key figure in the party secretary's campaign against "communal fascism", Vishwan said Jaleel's past has no relevance now. "Our concern is only whether he is ready to cooperate with the party and sail with it," he said.

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