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SDPI’s support puts Congress in firing line of both BJP and Left

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KOZHIKODE: “Unconditional” support offered by Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) to Congress-led

UDF

in the Lok Sabha elections in Kerala has put the latter in a spot, with both BJP and the governing

Left

(LDF) accusing it of taking support from extremist groups.

SDPI

is widely viewed as the political arm of the banned PFI.
Congress

is treading cautiously, sensing BJP could highlight it at the national level, especially since Rahul is contesting from Wayanad.

Also, the party doesn’t want SDPI’s support to alienate Hindu and Christian votes.
SDPI state president Ashraf Moulavi had on Monday declared that it would not field candidates as it wanted to support INDIA bloc pivot Congress in the efforts to prevent BJP from coming to power again. “Our support is unconditional. We did not hold any discussions with Congress. We are ready to campaign for UDF candidates if its leadership wants,” Moulavi said.
In the 2019 LS elections, SDPI contested in 10 of Kerala’s 20 LS seats and bagged 80,111 votes. In 2014, it had garnered over 10,000 votes in 14 constituencies and a total of 2.7 lakh votes. Therefore, UDF is not outrightly rejecting SDPI’s support this time as its votes could matter in constituencies that will see close fights.

BJP upped the ante. Its Wayanad candidate K Surendran on Tuesday likened SDPI’s move to “PFI support”, called it dangerous and accused it of having ignited riots earlier. “UDF is taking support from religious terror groups, including in Wayanad where Rahul Gandhi is contesting. Rahul should explain his stand on the issue,” Surendran said.
LDF also waded in, with CPM state secretary MV Govindan saying UDF was taking in all “retrograde forces”. “The people of Kerala will give a reply to this in poll,” he said.
State opposition leader, Congress’s VD Satheesan, insisted that UDF did not seek SDPI’s backing.

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