Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday sought to widen the perceived fissures in the United Democratic Front (UDF) by stating that a weakened Congress was fated to become a subaltern part of the Opposition coalition.
Mr. Vijayan waded into the apparent dissensions in the arguably embattled UDF leadership even as the alliance met here to make sense of its poor showing in the local body polls.
In a Facebook post, Mr. Vijayan said the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) had pursued dominance in the UDF at the cost of an enfeebled Congress.
Change in leadership
The IUML has demanded a change in the leadership of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) rather audaciously. The IUML had robbed the Congress of its right to settle intra-party affairs. The party had, of late, gravitated towards radical Islamist ideologies, he said.
The IUML had coerced the KPCC into entering into a pre-poll alliance with fundamentalist forces disregarding the All India Congress Committee (AICC), Mr. Vijayan alleged.
The emergence of the IUML as the dominant party in the UDF indicated that the Congress-led coalition had changed colour and abandoned its secular values, he said.
Mr. Vijayan’s attack came on a day when posters appeared in the capital supporting K. Sudhakaran, MP, to the post of KPCC president and amidst reports that minorities had shifted away from the Congress.
It also seemed to pivot on KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran’s lament on Friday that some quarters had attempted to “isolate and attack” him for the poll debacle.
Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala responded sharply to Mr. Vijayan. He said the Chief Minister had brazenly attempted to divide the electorate into communal lines ahead of the Assembly polls.
The secular credentials of the IUML were impeccable. Mr. Vijayan had tried to cast the UDF into irrelevance to aid the rise of the Sangh Parivar. He was in tacit understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Mr. Chennithala said.
IUML general secretary P.K. Kunhalikutty said the IUML played by the book and has never dabbled in the internal affairs of its alliance partners.
He challenged Mr. Vijayan to produce evidence to bolster the charge.