Kerala: IUML minister's speech evokes sharp reactions



Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala on Sunday found itself in an embarrassing position after facing attacks from several quarters over a remark by an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) minister suggesting that the UDF rule was going on along his party's diktats.

Along with opposition CPI(M) and BJP, two major Hindu organisations came out heavily against the statement which they said "exposed" IUML's supremacy in the coalition.

The controversy was sparked off by Indian Union Muslim League leader and Public Works Minister VK Ebrahim Kunju's speech in a party meeting at Palakkad on Saturday that the League was controlling the rule in the state.

He said there were charges that League was controlling the government. "Though we are not openly saying that, it is a reality. Only those things in the interests of our party will be allowed to be done in the state," he said in the speech aired by TV channels yesterday.

Though Kunju clarified he had only exhorted party workers to be more responsible as they had a prominent role in the government, the media came out with only a portion of his speech which triggered the row.

Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan and CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan were quick to grab the opportunity, saying that the statement reflected the unquestioned supremacy of IUML in the ruling UDF dispensation.

Vijayan said some ruling Front partners had already complained about the IUML's excessive clout in administration, which had now become clear.

The UDF also came under attack from the Nair Service Society and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, which represent the powerful Nair and Ezhava communities, saying minorities were trying to establish their hold over the majority community.

NSS general secretary G Sukumaran Nair even went to the extent of saying that Congress should seek re-election if Kunju's statement was made with the permission of the IUML leadership. The government had no right to continue in office if it was being run on the diktats of IUML, he said.

SNDP Yogam leader Vellappally Natesan said their stand that minorities, especially Muslim League, are gaining the upper hand in all sectors of governance stood vindicated. Those who came to power on a secular platform were exposing their communal colour, he said.

PTI