March 01, 2021

India: Induction of the Shady Abbas Siddiqui, 'Indian Secular Front' at the Brigade rally of the Left and the Congress

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya   |   Calcutta   |   Published 01.03.21, 01:42 AM

"Bengal on Sunday witnessed the injection of a new dimension into its politics with the formal induction of Abbas Siddiqui, a Furfura Sharif pirzada, who took centre-stage at the Brigade rally of the Left and the Congress with a pledge to uproot both the Trinamul Congress and the BJP.

The cleric’s formal entry into mainstream politics — a rarity in Bengal till now — added an element that even sections within both the “secular” allies were uncomfortable with while it drew derision from Trinamul as well as the BJP.

“For decades, we had successfully asked crores of Bengal’s minority voters to support a Marxist party and its allies, shunning identity-based politics. Even though many of them had turned away from us in favour of Mamata Banerjee, we had not compromised ideologically,” said an Alimuddin Street insider.

“But with the inclusion of Siddiqui’s so-called Indian Secular Front, giving the fledgling outfit 30 seats from the Left quota in the alliance, we will formally be asking the same voters to make a sea-change in their mindset. Will that be reversible in the foreseeable future? We don’t know,” he added.

The answers to other questions like the impact of Siddiqui on the upcoming polls or the future of the political discourse in Bengal also remained hazy. Siddiqui supports the cause of the marginalised, including the Dalits, but his party is still seen as deriving its core strength from the minority community."

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