League Politics on the Boil; Divide Comes out in Open

KOZHIKODE:The age-old one-man-centric power structure of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) appears to have developed a crack with the differences of opinion among the members of the Thangal family coming out in the open, perhaps for the first time in its history.

Political observers as well as senior leaders of the IUML believe that the Facebook post of Panakkad Syed Munavvar Ali Shihab Thangal, son of former IUML president Mohamedali Shihab Thangal, should be seen as the beginning of a significant change in the party’s decision-making template.

“What’s important here is that a different opinion criticising the party supremo has come out from within the Thangal family itself. That too, in public sphere, minutes before the crucial meeting of the party,’’ said political analyst Hameed Chennamangalloor.

Posted around 90 minutes before the crucial working committee meeting of the IUML in Kozhikode on Friday to fix the party’s candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat, Munavvar Ali’s comment against the interests of party supremo Hyderali Shihab Thangal was literally a game changer; though it was withdrawn an hour later.

“What the party witnessed today is totally an unprecedented event. There have been differences of opinion within the members of the Thangal family. But, none of them was discussed publicly,” a top leader of the party said, preferring anonymity.

According to sources, Munnavvar Ali had earlier conveyed his opinion regarding the selection of candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat with Hyderali Thangal when there arose a dispute in this connection with K P A Majeed and Abdul Wahab emerging in the fray. However, he had decided to make his opinion public as he thought the decision of Hyderali Thangal was going otherwise. “Hyderali Thangal was inclined to the candidature of Abdul Wahab, who has the backing of E Ahamed. However, he had to change his stand once Munavvar made his position on the issue publicly. Consequently, the meeting turned inconclusive,” said a party source.

 Adding further, Chennamangallor said the recent developments showed changes in the upper surface of the power structure in the IUML. “Unlike in the past, IUML supremo Hyderali Thangal and national treasurer P K Kunhalikutty have taken different stands on the issue. Earlier, when Thangal used to announce the final stance of the party in each and every affair, he would have arrived at a consensus with the top leaders, especially Kunhalikutty.   However, it appears that a major gap has emerged between Hyderali Thangal and Kunhalikutty,” he said.

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