Cong. divided over tie-up with WPI

The Congress in the State appears to be on the horns of dilemma in the wake of a meeting between United Democratic Front (UDF) convener M.M. Hassan and Jamaat-e-Islami Amir M.I. Abdul Aziz which has sparked off a possible electoral alliance between the coalition and the Welfare Party of India (WPI) ahead of the local three tier polls in December and the Assembly elections next year.

A section within the Congress is infuriated over the speculation of the UDF attempting to forge a political understanding with the WPI, the political arm of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Two voices

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran has already voiced his thoughts bluntly against having a pact with the WPI and said that the UDF would discuss such issues at its meeting in Kochi on Friday.

At the same time, Vadakara MP K. Muraleedharan, who is in favour of an association with the WPI, said that party had publicly supported the UDF in Lok Sabha polls held last year and added that an entente had worked at local levels in districts such as Kozhikode.

A powerful section in the Congress is against forging any electoral understanding with the WPI for fear of losing a chunk of the votes of the Hindu as well as the conservative Muslim communities.

IUML factor

The schism in the Congress has emerged when the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), its largest coalition partner, also faced a similar dilemma earlier when hawkish elements in its party argued for such a tactical agreement.

However, the IUML has been to an extent able to tackle the issue by bringing its leader P.K. Kunhalikutty back to State politics when the party-backed Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama took an antagonistic view against the WPI.

Incidentally, the IUML has also started to engage in collective bargaining for more seats to contest in the Assembly polls, especially in Southern and Central Travancore, following the exit of the Kerala Congress (M) faction of Jose K. Mani and the Loktantrik Janata Dal, earlier JD(U), from the UDF.

More seats

Apparently a meeting between Mr. Hassan and IUML State president Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal in Malappuram saw the latter demanding six additional seats not only in north kerala but also in South and Central parts of the State.

In 2016, it contested 24 seats and won from 18 segments while the Kerala Congress (M) and the JD(U) had contested in 15 and seven seats respectively. The IUML leadership has been facing pressure from its youth wing to allot more seats for fresh faces.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:49:51 AM |

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