MALAPPURAM: The meeting of Muslim League’s (IUML) high-power committee and party MLAs, held in the presence of League supremo Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal on Thursday, chose its national general secretary and Vengara MLA PK Kunhalikutty as the legislature party (LP) leader in the newly-elected House. Following IUML’s decision, the upcoming UDF meeting might also choose Kunhalikutty as deputy leader of Opposition.
The meeting also picked IUML state secretary and Koduvally MLA M K Muneer as deputy leader of the party in the assembly. Muneer had been the LP leader and deputy leader of Opposition in the outgoing assembly. The IUML leadership chose Kunhalikutty for the post after ignoring protests against him from within the party for resigning as Malappuram MP, with the alleged intention of becoming a minister in the state, if UDF won.
When reporters pointed this out to IUML national organising secretary E T Muhammad Basheer, he said the protests were deliberate attempts by some to create an impression that the party performed poorly in the assembly elections. He also described as satisfactory IUML’s showing in the polls.
“We are not claiming that the party put on an impressive performance in the assembly elections. Even when the UDF faced a setback, the League performed satisfactorily. Despite the pro-LDF wave, the League not only managed to retain its bastions, but also increased its vote share in seven constituencies in Malappuram district,” Basheer said. The Lok Sabha MP from Ponnani also claimed that the IUML had played a crucial role in blocking BJP’s entry.
“In Manjeshwar, BJP had even brought in leaders from Karnataka for campaigning. But, IUML, with the backing of its strong voter base, defeated BJP in Manjeshwar. IUML also did its bit to ensure the defeat of Metroman E Sreedharan in Palakkad,” he added. The meeting also decided to analyse the party’s overall performance and that of the UDF to rectify the mistakes made in this election. P K Kunhalikutty expressed confidence that UDF will make a strong comeback.