Madani cycle enters round two as accused turns ‘victim’ again

National

By the time he was acquitted in the Coimbatore blasts case, Madani was already a chastened leader. He reinvented himself in Kerala politics as a moderate trying to build a Dalit-minority bank. He was asserting that he had left his past behind when it caught up with him, with the emergence of alleged terror networks built by his one-time associates, including suspected LeT militant Tadiyantavide Nazir. In the probe into the recruitment of Kerala youths for terror in Kashmir, all names that have come up have been of people who once belonged to Madani's PDP. They had allegedly regrouped while the leader was undergoing a makeover.

During those years, too, Madani was much sought-after in Kerala politics despite the terror allegation. The CPM, desperately looking for a Muslim face against Congress ally IUML, found an unofficial partner in Madani in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Later, the CPM would realise that its interactions with Madani were among the factors that led to the Left rout in Kerala in those elections.

On August 17, 2010, as he was being taken to Bangalore by the Karnataka police, an emotional Madani told the media, "The forces that tried to annihilate me and my movement for empowering minorities are behind framing the charges against me. I don't expect that I will come back alive."

Madani's image had changed again, from one of a mainstream politician to a terror accused. As he went out of public focus, many of his senior colleagues too left the PDP. In the 2011 assembly election, leaders of no party felt the need to visit Bangalore jail and seek his support.

Until now. With a year left for the next Lok Sabha elections, political parties see Madani once again as the victim of a human rights violation, an issue that will help strike the right chord with Muslims.

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