ABDU IN BJP FOLD … Young Muslim leader from Kerala and ex-CPIM MP, AP Abdullakutty, now gets BJP membership

NEW DELHI: Young and influential Muslim leader from Kerala, AP Abdullakutty joined the BJP here on Wednesday, two days after he held meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah here. He received membership from the party’s working president JP Nadda at Parliament House. Abdullakutty said he would now be a “nationalist Muslim” and would make efforts to endear the Muslim community to the saffron party. Union minister V Muraleedharan was among those present at the event.

Abdullakutty’s joining the BJP is seen as good step by the party’s central leadership. For one, the allegation that he is a party-hopper, a weathercock, moving from one party to another, is not taken seriously by the leadership. He is consistent in his praise of and admiration for Narendra Modi both when he was chief minister and prime minister. The praise was based on the good work that Modi has been doing for development and for welfare of the poor. The BJP leadership appreciates this. 

When Abdullakutty met PM and Shah, they had urged him to join the BJP. Abdullakutty was already in a mind to be a part of the ruling entity. He said he expected nothing from the party, but only want to be on the right side of development and nationalist pursuits. 

The induction of Abdullakutty is also seen in the context of the exhortation of PM Modi to the party immediately after the massive victory for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, that it should make serious efforts to get the minorities closer to the party. The PM noted that they were being used by others as vote banks. Modi had also stressed that his government’s policy would continue to be Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas (With all, for progress of all) — a slogan he raised first when he took over as PM in 2014. 

Abdullakutty would emerge as a Muslim face of the BJP, which already has Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union minister, among prominent Muslims allying with the party. Another prominent face was prominent journalist MJ Akbar, from Bihar, who is now taking the back seat after a flurry of MeToo slurs hurled at him by some of his former subordinates. Abdullakutty is an intellectual and widely read. He entered politics via the SFI, was CPIM’s MP from Kannur for two terms, before he was removed from the party for his public praise of Modi as Gujarat CM. This was in 2011, and then he joined the Congress. 

The Congress asked him out when he, again, praised PM Modi after the present Lok Sabha polls, saying Modi has shades of Gandhiji. 

Notably, when Muslims have a strong political party in Kerala, the Indian Union Muslim League which is part of the United Democratic Front, Abdullakutty kept himself out of it all through his political career. As a student, he sided with the pro-CPIM SFI; and later he joined the CPIM. In recent years, he was with the Congress; meaning he always was part of the national mainstream politics. IHN-NN

Union minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan poses for a picture alongside a Vietnam delegation in Delhi.

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