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Arrested PDP leader Madani stands isolated

PDP leader Abdul N Madani finds himself isolated, with mainstream parties keeping away from him.



Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala-based PDP
leader Abdul Nasser Madani finds himself isolated, with
mainstream parties in the state keeping away from him, despite
past association, after he was named in the 2008 Bangalore
blasts case.

Madani`s space in the mainstream shrunk after the last
Lok Sabha polls when his party had truck with the ruling LDF
which however failed to yield any political dividends at the
hustings.

Madani was arrested yesterday in connection with the
Bangalore blasts after eight days of suspense with the BJP
Government in Karnataka blaming the LDF regime for the delay
in executing the arrest warrant.

CPI-M had a sort of an adjustment with PDP by
supporting an independent acceptable to both in the
Muslim-dominated Ponnani seat in the last Parliament polls,
but maintained a distance from him after the elections.

Congress-led UDF, which had also had an understanding
with the PDP in its early days, has taken a strident
anti-Madani posture since the run up to the Lok Sabha polls.

It was when he was already finding himself in a
politically isolated state that he was arraigned as an accused
in the additional chargesheet in 2008 Bangalore bomb blasts
case, reportedly based on the statement given to police by T
Nazeer, an LeT suspect and a key accused in the case.

This situation, according to political analysts here,
has pushed Madani into isolation, giving rise to doubts about
the strength of his support base with the Assembly polls just
eight months away.

Madani had made a triumphant return to the state
following his acquittal in the Coimbatore blasts case in
August 2007 after nine years of incarceration. A hero’s
welcome was accorded to him then with several LDF ministers
turning up at a massive public reception held here.

Out of prison, Madani himself declared that his
intention was to be part of mainstream politics and regretted
his past radical positions.

It was with this "reformed" Madani that the CPI-M
forged an alliance and the powerful party boss in the state
Pinarayi Vijayan shared the stage with him despite strong
reservations of his arch rival and Chief Minister V S
Achuthanandan.

The 86-year-old Marxist has persistently declined to
do any business with Madani or leaders of any other radical
group since he is firm that communalism of both minority and
majority hues are equally dangerous. According to analysts, the public perception on terrorism
has made it difficult for outfits like PDP or Popular Front of
India, a radical Muslim outfit, to build a credible support
base in the state.

Madani, now in his mid-40s, burst on the public scene in
Kerala in early 1990s as a fiery orator under the banner of
Islamic Sevak Sangh (ISS), started by him to rival RSS.

The young Muslim cleric in Kerala could then attract a
sizeable following, especially in the southern parts where a
mainstream party like Indian Union Muslim League could not
strike roots.

In the turbulent days that followed the demolition of
Babri Masjid, ISS was outlawed and Madani floated the Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) in 1994, positioning itself as a
political force of the minorities, depressed classes and
marginalised sections, shedding the tag of a Muslim outfit.

In the subsequent years, he had been able to build a
support base throughout the state and had some understanding
with the UDF, though no one was still ready to break bread
with him in the open.

His downfall began when he was arrested in March 1998 in
connection with a case of making an inflammatory speech in
Kozhikode. It was while in custody in this case, he was sought
by Tamil Nadu police in connection with the Coimbatore blasts
case, resulting in detention till his acquittal in 2007.

He was accused of supplying explosives for the Coimbatore
blasts that claimed 58 lives and injured over 200 people ahead
of an election meeting addressed by senior BJP leader L K
Advani. But the trial court exonerated him of the charges.

But charges of terror links continued to haunt Madani and
his wife Soofiya, who was arrested in December 2009 in
connection with the torching of a Tamil Nadu transport
corporation bus in 2007 to protest the continued detention of
the PDP supremo in Coimbatore prison.

Reported confessions of LeT suspect Nazir, prime accused
in the Bangalore blasts that killed one person and injured 20
others, spelt trouble for Madani again, leading to him being
chargesheeted in the case and arrest.

Madani has repeatedly maintained that he has been falsely
implicated in the case and alleged a deep rooted conspiracy by
security agencies.

PTI

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