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Elections 2021 | Will Turkey's Hagia Sophia hurt UDF's prospects in Kerala?

The political ramifications of Hagia Sophia's reconversion into a mosque was felt as far as the Indian state of Kerala, which is around 5,600 km away. The IUML, an ally of the Congress, is accused of supporting the sixth century erstwhile church's reconversion into a mosque.

March 27, 2021 / 10:41 PM IST
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan outside Hagia Sophia mosque (File image: AFP)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan outside Hagia Sophia mosque (File image: AFP)

Turkey's Hagia Sophia was among the factors that contributed to the United Democratic Front's (UDF) rout in December's municipal body polls in Kerala, analysts say. Ahead of the upcoming assembly elections, the UDF leadership went into a damage control mode, after the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), one of its constituents, was accused of supporting the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

The top brass of the IUML and the Congress has been reaching out to bishops and leaders of Orthodox and Jacobite Christians over the past couple of months.

The IUML, in particular, has been in an overdrive to clarify the "misinterpretation" of its stand on the issue.

This suggests that the sixth-century erstwhile cathedral, converted from a museum into a mosque in July last year, continues to remain a factor in the electoral battle in Kerala.