KOZHIKODE: The Indian Union Muslim League’s (IUML) reported hobnobbing with Popular Front of India (PFI) and its political arm the SDPI has proved a veritable stick for the LDF to corner the UDF. The CPM-led Left bloc decried the IUML for associating with ‘communal elements’ for electoral gain in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Late on Thursday, CCTV footage of a meeting attended by IUML heavyweights PK Kunhalikutty and E T Mohammad Basheer and Abdul Majeed Faisi and Nasarudeen Elamaram of the SDPI and PFI, respectively at a hotel in Malappuram had emerged.
According to a source, the IUML discussed the election scenario in Ponnani LS seat with the hard-line outfits and reportedly requested the SDPI to either withdraw from the fray or throw its weight behind ET who is the IUML candidate.
Ponnani is considered an unsafe seat for the IUML at present due to the growing influence of party defectors as well as issues with its ally Congress. Nilambur MLA P V Anvar’s candidature in Ponnani as a Left-backed independent has further rattled the IUML.
Cornered, the party denied any political angle to the meeting. “The Muslim League will not have any political compromise with the SDPI,” IUML national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty said. However, Faisy of SDPI gave a different version.
“The prevailing political scenario was discussed(at the meeting). Not only did the election in Malappuram come up during the talks, other political issues were also discussed,” Faisy said, putting the IUML in an embarassing spot.
The Left camp was quick to train its guns on the UDF constituent. “They (SDPI and IUML) came together for an electoral deal. The League should not pander to communal elements for the sake of a few votes,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan sought to know the Congress stance on the IUML associating itself with the SDPI.
Political observers said the IUML considers Ponnani a tough seat to win as its total victory margin in the seven Assembly constituencies under the Lok Sabha constituency came down from 25,410 votes in 2014 to a measly 1,069 in 2016. Interestingly, the votes polled by SDPI were higher than the victory margin of E T Mohammad Basheer in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Though Basheer tried to switch to a safe seat in neighbouring Malappuram constituency, the move was reportedly thwarted by sitting MP Kunhalikutty.