People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 18

May 06, 2012




UDF Bickering Stokes

Communal Feelings


N S Sajith

PUTTING the conflict between Congress and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), two main constituents of the ruling United Democratic Front, into a new turn, former KPCC president K Muralidharan openly lambasted the League leaders on May 2. And within hours of this outburst, he walked out from the Kerala PCC executive meeting after being criticised by the PCC president, Ramesh Chennithala. His outburst came in the backdrop of shaky relations between the two parties due to the IUML’s demand for allotment of fifth ministerial post.


Addressing a public meeting in Thiruvambadi, Kozhikode, Muralidharan said that the ugly greed of League leaders for a fifth ministerial berth has created chaos and controversy in the state. Muralidharan said
that League has its option to leave the UDF if they are not satisfied. Congress can also opt its own way, he said. Further, he charged that terrorists have intruded into the Muslim League, and its symptoms can be seen in the current developments.


This criticism by important leaders of Congress was annoying the chief minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala. This was reflected in the KPCC executive meeting. Ramesh Chennithala severely condemned the outburst of Muralidharan on League. He said that, he as the PCC president alone would react on such matters apart from chief minister Oommen Chandy. Muralidharan staged a walkout protesting this reaction from PCC chief.




 An eleven month long waiting for the fifth ministerial berth is over. Manjalamkuzhi Ali, of IUML, took oath along with newly elected legislator Anup Jacob of Kerala Congress (J) as ministers. Ali, formerly elected twice as CPI(M)-supported independent candidate, joined Muslim League last year at the fag end of LDF rule. He was offered ministerial post during the last Assembly election itself, but he had to wait till last week. Congress had put League’s demand on the back burner till the bye election in Piravam constituency was over.


A shrill controversy erupted during this period on the issue of fifth ministership to IUML. The sleeping communal beast slowly woke up during these days and the polity of Kerala is clearly hearing its menacing sound. The ruling United Democratic Front is vertically divided on communal lines and its leaders keep on accusing each other of communal appeasement.


The fifth ministerial post was sought by League right from the beginning of UDF rule. But the Congress leaders tactfully evaded the pressure mounted by the Muslim League. When serious discussions on this started, suddenly a huge protest started from Hindu organisations like Nair Service Society and Sri Narayana Dharma Paripalana Sangham, both claiming the authority of Nairs and Ezhavas respectively.


KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala and Congress leaders like K Muraleedharan and electricity minister Aryadan Muhammed, an ardent critic of Muslim League, also expressed their feelings against appeasement of Muslim League. Kerala Congress leaders like K M Mani kept a strategic silence, by keeping an eye on upcoming vacancy for Rajya Sabha seat from the state.


Chief minister Oommen Chandy, who is keen to maintain the balance of ever shaky UDF (which sustains with the majority of just one seat), flew to Delhi and met Sonia Gandhi on this issue. Amid repeated negations on the possibility of League’s fifth minister, it was announced that Ali will take oath along with Anup Jacob. The swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by UDF convenor P P Thankachan and electricity minister Aryadan Muhammed, since the issue was not discussed in the front.


As the allegation on communal appeasement got vigorous, in a surprising move chief minister Oommen Chandy himself shed his home portfolio and appointed his lieutenant Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who belongs to Nair community, in order to pacify Hindu communal feelings. But the Nair Service Society reacted that this is another mockery on the part of Oommen Chandy and they are not satisfied with home portfolio.


In another development, electricity minister Aryadan Muhammed expressed his willingness to quit on this issue. It is clear that the ripples created by this controversy are going to shake the very base of the UDF. Even though every party in the ruling front needs this government to continue in office, as most of its leaders are facing serious allegations and cases on corruption, they keep on asking for the share of the cake on their own communal lines.


This ugly sharing of spoils accompanied by loud bargaining on the basis communal feelings is just unheard of in the history of state. The constituents in the ruling front are explicitly and viciously divided as representatives of caste and religious forces. But worryingly, the main casualty of this controversy is the communal amity of the state.




A fresh controversy over the decision of Calicut University Syndicate to gift tens of acres of land to the fake trusts headed by prominent Indian Union Muslim League leaders has rocked Kerala. In the backdrop of high decibel fight with Muslim League, the Congress-led syndicate has decided to cancel the decision to allot the land to League leaders and their relatives.


A section of media has unearthed the secret and hasty deal between University authorities and Indian Union Muslim League leaders. Newly-appointed vice chancellor Dr M Abdul Salam, who is considered as a close aide to League leaders, has pulled the strings to gift the land to trusts headed by Muslim League leaders. 


Grace Education Trust, headed by Muslim League state president Haider Ali Shihab Thangal, Kerala Olympic Association headed by P A Hamza, brother in law of minister Dr M K Muneer and Kerala Badminton Trust headed by Dr K Kunhali, father in law of industries minister, P K Kunhalikkutty, were given respectively 10, 25 and 3 acres of priceless land near the National Highway. 


When news broke out, an emergency syndicate meeting was convened and it was decided to freeze the earlier decision. The decision of allotment of land to build a bus stand near the University campus has also been cancelled.  The Congress members in the nominated syndicate came down heavily on the vice chancellor. It is believed that Muslim League leaders have started pressurising the vice chancellor to step down to subside the controversy. 


In the meanwhile, a vigilance court in Thrissur has issued a notice to the state government on this land allotment issue. The court was considering an appeal filed by P D Joy, a resident of Thrissur, challenging the decision of land allotment. 


The fight between two United Democratic Front constituents is still continuing in various parts of Kannur, Kozhikode and  Malappuram districts. Attacks on electricity minister Aryadan Muhammed, a staunch critic of Muslim League, are also continuing. A hoarding depicting Aryadan as a dog appeared in Edappal, a small town in Malappuram. 


Recently, Muslim Youth League and Youth Congress workers were engaged in an open street fight in Kondotty in Malappuram district.