Kochi: Even though SFI created history of sorts by succesfully fielding a woman candidate Mridula Gopi as the candidate for the chairperson’s seat in Maharaja’s College, they had to share the limelight with another students union, Fraternity Movement.
Out of the 14 seats in the college, SFI had won 13. One seat which SFI lost was that of the representative of the third year degree batch won by the Fraternity Movement candidate, Ishaq Ibrahim. Most students were surprised to find that a candidate from a student political outfit that they have not yet heard of had come in second position for the chairman seat, ahead of even the Kerala Students Union candidate.
Fraternity Movement is the student wing of Welfare Party, floated by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind in 2011. It started operations in Maharaja’s College only three months ago. But prior to this, their unit at Maharaja’s College was operating as Inquilab Students Movement (ISM).
Fuad Mohammed, the third-year political science student at the Maharaja’s who lost to Mridula by 121 votes, found maximum support among second year and third year students.
“SFI has been in politics for years and even have films about them. But no one really knows anything about us. There are rumours about us being a religion-centric party but those who have been here at Maharaja’s know that is not the case. During the years when we operated as ISM, they knew the kind of issues we took up,” said Fuad Muhammad, president of the Fraternity Movement unit in Maharaja’s. They currently have 25 members.
When asked about the ideological position of the party he said the movement believes in “secularism, religious plurality and social democracy.”
He said those who have been in the college for more than a year know the true nature of SFI which indulges in hooliganism. “Even I have been a victim to it,” he said.
SFI district president V M Junaid said, historically, SFI always wins maximum votes among first-year students. “This is mainly because people start voting for other candidates because of friendship and other personal reasons,” he said.Dismissing the possibility of Fraternity Movement emerging as a political force in the elections to come he said it has not eaten into their vote share but instead have taken KSU’s vote share.
“This year, Fraternity Movement had a few good candidates, which is why they did well. They are just like the student wings under the Sangh Parivar, who use multiple names to compete in campus elections. Fraternity Movement is related to Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, which already has a student body, Students Islamic Organisation of India (SIO). The reason why they are not operating under SIO’s name is to mask their religious inclinations,” alleged Junaid.