November 28, 2011
The PFI has made political parties attentive in North India as it makes an attempt to extend its reach, especially, after the successful conference-cum-rally.
The front claims to champion cause of all minorities and dispossessed people including Dalits, Muslims, Tribal and other backward castes but it is mostly believed to be a party of Muslims, more so, in South Indian states.
The state cadres arrived from all over the country to attend the Social Justice Conference. While the Ramlila Ground had a strong crowd, political watchers said that it is too early to predict how much support the South-based outfit would receive in the region.
Party leaders at the event stressed on need for social justice and issues pertaining to Muslims were raised. Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh, LJP leaders, activists and prominent Muslim intellectuals addressed the gathering that is estimated to be nearly around one lakh.
The PFI has strong base in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. But police and intelligence agencies are wary of the group that is alleged to have hardliners in its fold also. In media reports, it is often termed as a radical outfit.
The prime reason is that its members had attacked a Christian professor for alleged blasphemy. However, this didn't deter its supporters and political-religious leaders who came in droves at the rally and demanded reservation for Muslims in government and private sector.
Over all the party made a impressive show of strength but political watchers say that it is not easy for a new outfit to create its base in North India. PFI and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) have organised big rallies on Independence Day in the past and have often run in trouble with the law-enforcement authorities.