While debate and discussions over selection of candidates for the 2019 general elections have already begun, parties have changed gears to make this process as fast and diligent as possible. Communist Party of India (Marxist) announced a list of 19 candidates in Kerala previous week for the upcoming general elections, the list was announced by party state Chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan which features mostly local leaders.
Featuring the list of candidates is A M Ariff, sitting MLA from Aroor constituency in Alappuzha district of Kerala. AM Ariff who started his political career with Student Federation of India (SFI), the student outfit of the CPI (M) was born in Mannar on 20th May 1964. AM Ariff came under fire from a large section of society over his anti-vaccination stand. AM Ariff strongly came in opposition of the Measles-Rubella (MR) Vaccination campaign in Kerala.
Measles is a highly contagious virus, spread by contact with an infected person through coughing and sneezing. Measles weakens the immune system and opens the door to secondary health problems, such as pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea, and encephalitis. Measles weakens the immune system and opens the door to secondary health problems, such as pneumonia, blindness, diarrhea, and encephalitis. Rubella, also known as “German Measles”, is generally a mild disease but can have serious consequences for pregnant women and their children. Both these diseases are easily preventable by proper vaccination at right time.
The Government is striving towards improving medical welfare of the people with its initiatives like Ayushman Bharat and others however unscientific narratives continue to hinder India’s healthcare initiative. When asked about his previous support for the vaccination campaign, AM Ariff said that he earlier supported the vaccination program because ‘there was under tremendous pressure from the government to do so’. He went further to support his stand and said “My children were never given any vaccinations. People who are against vaccination are made to look like anti-nationals. But there is no need to be scared of this.” While the government is increasing its efforts to further spread awareness on vaccination, resistance from anti-vaccination campaigners backed by fundamental organizations continues to create roadblocks.
Political analysts believe that AM Ariff’s anti-vaccination stance helps him in garnering support from the fundamental religious outfits which have been at the forefront of the anti-vaccination movement. Fundamental outfits term the vaccines as ‘haram’ essentially making vaccines forbidden by religious law. The Anti-Vaccination movement, aided by the likes of AM Arif has been hindering total holistic development of the people of Kerala. Cases of violence on Medical practitioners working for Vaccination drives have also surfaced.
AM Ariff the three-time MLA from Kerala, is a striking example of skewed candidate selection by the CPI (M) with the only agenda being winning the election. Unscientific attitude towards health and education has been crippling Kerla’s Youth for a long time. Current conditions when the CPI(M) is under a lot of pressure regarding Law and order issues in the State, the Candidate list just reconfirms CPI(M)’s attitude towards people of Kerala.