The Indian Union Muslim League’s organ, Chandrika, has apparently preferred to keep the row over Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony’s ‘BrahMos speech’ live even though the party leadership has projected a different line after Mr. Antony gave a clarification of sorts in Kasaragod a few days later.
In an editorial page article, the daily asserts that Mr. Antony’s remarks, coming from a person with a broad view about Kerala politics because of his focus on national issues, cannot be viewed as having been made with good intentions, given the circumstantial evidence. The article, written by Najeeb Kanthapuram, Muslim Youth League Kozhikode district president, known to be close to Industries Minister and IUML strongman P.K. Kunhalikutty, also considers the remarks as mysterious coming as it did at a time when Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is making all efforts to give wings to Kerala’s development dreams. Mr. Antony’s remarks that he did not have the courage to push for Defence sector projects in Kerala would only serve to retard the State’s economic growth, especially in the context of the Emerging Kerala event. The article categorically terms the remarks as an affront to the UDF government.
Antony’s poll speeches
The article makes an attempt to trace the anti-LDF campaign that Mr. Antony led during the last Assembly elections listing out the dates of the functions at which he criticised Mr. Achuthanandan for his government’s failure to present an efficient administration. The tone and tenor of the article, according to sources, clearly suggests that the IUML is not willing to forget the embarrassment its leadership apparently faced owing to the praise heaped on Mr. Achuthanandan and former Industries Minister Elamaram Karim, and what it considers belittling the efforts of Mr. Kunhalikutty.
Even though the IUML leadership officially makes it appear that it is satisfied with Mr. Antony’s clarifications, the article is being interpreted in Congress circles as an attempt to convey the IUML’s disaffection with the current Congress leadership, with an eye on prospective changes in national politics at a time when there is considerable speculation about the Congress party’s capability of bringing the UPA back to power in the 2014 general elections.