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Kunhalikutty slams PDP, Jama-at support for LDF

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Special Correspondent

Says Jama-at has limited support base and PDP votes will split

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) general secretary P. K. Kunhalikutty has come down heavily on the Jama-at-e-Islami and the People's Democratic Party (PDP) for their decision to support the Opposition Left Democratic Front in the Assembly elections.

Participating in a `meet-the-press' programme, organised by the Kesari Memorial Journalists' Trust here on Saturday, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the Jama-at-e-Islami support for the LDF did not matter much as it had only a limited following and that the PDP votes would get divided between the UDF and the LDF. He accused both the organisations of having decided to back the LDF and then trotted up justifications for doing so. The Jama-at-e-Islami was only one of the Muslim organisations and they did not have the backing of the others. As for the PDP, there was division among its ranks about the decision to support the LDF. "If the LDF is looking forward to some sympathy votes here, that will not happen," he said.

Questioning the rationale of the PDP decision, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the UDF had taken a humanitarian stand in the matter and kept its promise to the PDP leadership at the time of the last Assembly election. In keeping with the promise, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had called on the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and pleaded for Abdul Nasir Maudany's release. The UDF had also initiated a resolution in the Assembly for the purpose. "They need an enemy for the time being. That is why they are coming up with all the arguments against the UDF," the IUML leader said when replying to questions about Sufiya Maudany's allegation that Union Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed had done nothing to secure Maudany's release. Asked about the message sent by the UDF Government stating that there would be trouble if Maudany was allowed to return to Kerala, Mr. Kunhalikutty said those were all old issues. The Chief Minister had visited his Tamil Nadu counterpart after that. It was only a case of PDP finding excuses after deciding to support the LDF. But none of these things would work as the UDF was getting a solid backing from the backward communities following implementation of the Narendran Commission recommendations. These communities were now capable of thinking beyond sentimental issues and he could perceive a clear consolidation among them, he added.

Asked how the National Development Front (NDF), a one-time enemy of the IUML, could be its ally now, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the NDF was not with the IUML, but added that everybody had the freedom to express their views. Asked if the IUML still held the view that the NDF was an extremist organisation, he said the matter had been clarified several times and he did not think it proper to going into all that on election eve. He also brushed aside the suggestion that there was a leadership vacuum in the IUML. Although IUML State president Syed Mohammedali Shihab Thangal had gone abroad for treatment, all the others were present on the campaign front. Mr. Ahamed had also gone abroad, but he has come back and would be reaching the State soon to lead the campaign, Mr. Kunhalikutty said.On the rationale for the IUML decision to sift Public Works Minister M. K. Muneer to Mankada, now being held by the LDF, Mr. Kunhalikutty said the party had decided to field persons with glamour and crowd pullers to win back such seats. They would come back victorious, he said and pointed out that he himself had chosen to contest in Kuttippuram itself owing to the feeling that there was a major challenge there.

The campaign against him over the ice-cream parlour sex racket case was being carried on by his `declared enemies.' He also saw a `hidden agenda' behind linking his party to all the bigwigs and moneybags.

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