The Indian Union Muslim League general secretary P K Kunhalikutty on Saturday asserted that the results of the local bodies’ elections once again vindicated the secular politics upheld by his party.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Kunhalikutty said that the election results reflected the dominance of the IUML in Kerala politics, becoming the third largest political party. The fringe Muslim groups and organisations which contested this election have no political relevance. In several places, the CPI (M) had adjustments with these sections giving them some leverage. For several years, the CPI (M) has been courting with these sections in their attempt to weaken the IUML and its leadership to secular forces. The electorate in general, and the Muslim community in particular, has rejected this brand of politics, he said.

He said IUML had won 1443 village panchayat, 190 block panchayat, 32 District Panchayat, 234 municipality, and 5 corporation seats. It was third only to the Congress which won a total of 7235 seats in these tiers of local bodies, and the CPI (M) which secured 6277 seats. The IUML had pushed the CPI to the third position.

In reply to a question, Mr. Kunhalikutty who was accompanied by E T Mohammed Basheer, MP at the press conference said the media had overplayed the role of People’s Democratic Party, Jamaat-e-Islami and Social Democratic Party of India in the elections. The PDP won 8, the Jamaat-e-Islami two and the SDPI 4 seats. “One cannot compare the record of these sections with that of IUML. It has turned out that the debate about their supposed strength in Muslim politics was way off the mark. It is clear that civic society does not encompass their political line,” he said.

He said he can prove with evidence the local level adjustments the CPI (M) had with fringe Muslim groups and organisations. The voting pattern in several areas in Malappuram, Kasargod and Kannur clearly exposes this trend. He said his party fully subscribed to the Congress party’s view that the UDF should not bid for power in hung panchayats with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and other communal elements.

He did not agree to the viewpoint that the BJP had broadened its political base. “The party has succeeded only in its traditional pockets,” he said. He accused the CPI (M) of being obsessed with caste and religion to make temporary electoral gains. “The CPI (M) is the only party which is seems to be discussing the impact of caste and religion on the electoral outcome when it is clear that the people had vehemently rejected its policies. They don’t have anything to say about the State’s development or its progress,” he said.

The IUML leader said the UDF could not make headway in Kollam because of some problems the coalition faced. However, the overall results in the district were not as pathetic as it was made out to be, he added. Similarly, the party made best use of its electoral understanding with Indian National League wherever it materialised. The two parties were not able to fully implement it across Malabar, he added.