As ED comes knocking, all is not well in IUML in Kerala


Issues in the Indian Union Muslim League ( IUML) — the second biggest party in the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala — are out in the open after Syed Mueen Ali Shihab Thangal raised a banner of revolt against P.K. Kunhalikutty, one of the most powerful leaders in the party.

The revolt stemmed after the Enforcement Directorate action against Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, the supreme leader of the IUML.

Mueen Ali is the elder son of Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, and for a while he has been up against Kunhalikutty, who is presently a legislator and also the deputy leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly.

Ali, also the national vice president of the Youth League, the youth wing of the IUML, first raised a protest when Kunhalikutty the sitting Lok Sabha member from Malappuram decided to quit from the Lok Sabha to contest the April 6 Assembly elections.

Even though that issue was quickly settled, things started to drift with the Congress-led UDF failing to regain power and the IUML putting up a not so impressive performance in the polls. It was at that time allegations of money laundering to the tune of Rs 10 crore through the bank accounts of Chandrika — the IUML party organ — came. But, what came as a shocker was the report that the supreme leader of the IUML — Thangal has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case.

This issue took a dramatic turn on Thursday when Ali held a press conference and breathed fire against Kunhalikutty and said his father’s health deteriorated after the ED incident.

He alleged that it is Kunhalikutty who has been dealing with the funds for long and the Thangal family did not handle funds. And when his press meet was going on at the office of the IUML, a leader close to Kunhalikutty created a ruckus, forcing Ali to end the press conference. Ali had to leave the premises in a huff.

With issues flaring up like never before, an urgent meeting has been called. Kunhalikutty, who was in the state capital attending the ongoing Assembly session, rushed to Malappuram. Since another top party leader and Lok Sabha member E.T. Mohammed Basheer was unable to reach Malappuram from Delhi on Friday, the urgent meeting was postponed for Saturday, said a top IUML leader..

All eyes are on the Saturday meeting as Ali too has a handful of supporters and it remains to be seen if the leadership will be able to amicably settle the differences between Ali and Kunhalikutty, or will they go ahead in taking disciplinary action against the elder son of the IUML supremo.