In a surprising move, P. Abdul Hameed MLA, the IUML Malappuram district secretary, has been appointed as a Director of Kerala Bank, an institution under the control of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). This development has caused discontent within the IUML ranks and raised eyebrows in the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), where IUML is a significant constituent.
The move to appoint an IUML leader to a key position in Kerala Bank is seen as a strategic attempt by the LDF to extend an olive branch to the IUML and potentially bring it under the Left’s political umbrella. The IUML is currently the second-largest constituent in the UDF coalition.
In another development in Kasaragod, IUML’s state council member N.A. Abubaker participated in the breakfast session of the Nava Kerala Sadas, an event organized by the LDF government that involves the entire state cabinet visiting all 140 assembly constituencies. Abubaker was observed sitting next to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during the event.
These recent developments, both the key appointment and the visible participation in LDF events, have sent shockwaves through the IUML, Congress, and the broader UDF. The IUML, traditionally aligned with the UDF, now faces internal dissent and external scrutiny as it navigates this perceived shift in political alignment.
The IUML’s engagement with the Left has prompted questions about the potential realignment of political equations in Kerala. The move could have far-reaching implications for the UDF, which has traditionally relied on the IUML’s support as a key ally.
P Abdul Hameed’s appointment has caused unpleasant ripples in IUML. State leadership believes that the opposition to the new development within the party is a temporary phenomenon and that it (leadership) is not in a mood to retract. But the statement of senior IUML leader and former minister E.T. Mohammed Basheer MP has added insult to the league’s injury. The IUML national organising secretary reportedly said he did not know about the decision to nominate the party leader to the board. Such decisions are normally taken at the state level and are not necessarily taken up at national level. Basheer was obviously trying to hide his dissatisfaction. But, it is clear that he was not consulted about such an important decision; hence, he is not all smiles.
The timing of Hameed’s ‘coronation’ is quite significant as UDF has been engaged in political and legal battles against Kerala Bank. It assumes more importance in view of the shameless multi crore frauds reported from CPM-ruled cooperative banks in the state. IUML leadership says, it is an endeavour for the existence of the cooperative movement and no room for political cooperation.
League leadership does not deny the possibility of CPM’s political interests behind Hameed’s appointment; but, IUML is not interested in it. Party has reportedly explained this to Congress and other UDF constituents. Leadership was not aware of this tremor in advance, but, anticipated more controversies if they went for further inner party discussions and deliberations; it may even lead to the decision to withdraw from the stand, they were afraid. League is bit relieved as Congress has not expressed their dissatisfaction publicly despite the protest communicated by M.M. Hassan, Congress leader and UDF convener.
But, two UDF constituents, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Communist Marxist Party (CMP) have made it clear that the matter should have been discussed within the Front. The protest within IUML is stronger than in the UDF. E.T. Mohammed Basheer’s statement indicates it. He said that he would be able to say about the stand only after discussing with Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal, the Muslim spiritual leader and the state president of the Party. Mohammed Basheer’s statement means that he was not aware of any decision in the matter.
In the meantime, a poster war has started in Malappuram in this respect. Anti-Hameed posters have appeared there, especially in front of the IUML party office. Poster calls Hameed a ‘Judas’. According to Christian faith, Judas is infamous for betraying Jesus for 30 silver coins. Poster demands the expulsion of ‘Judas’ from the party for betraying it. Party still has not succeeded in convincing the workers the logic behind the decision. A large section of the party workers maintain that they cannot justify the leadership’s decision. An urgent meeting is likely to take place when Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal returns from abroad.
IUML state secretary P.M.A. Salam stated that Hameed’s appointment was the government’s decision. Government did not discuss it with nor informed the party. Party leadership took the decision when Hameed informed them.
Then comes N.A. Abubakers’ drama. His participation in the Nava Kerala Sadas is a rude embarrassment, if not a rude shock, to Congress and other constituents of UDF. Abubaker not only participated in the breakfast session, but also seen sitting next to the CM and CPM supremo Pinarayi Vijayan. This is significant since UDF has decided to boycott the LDF government’s Nava Kerala Sadas and IUML MLA A.K.M. Ashraf has kept away from the entire programme. This is to be viewed against the backdrop of P. Abdul Hameed’s appointment as a director of the Kerala Bank.
When Abubaker’s participation in the Sadas turned talk of the state, an urgent meeting of the IUML leadership was convened at Malappuram. After the meeting, IUML senior leader K.P.A. Majeed stated in his FB post that his party would not join hands with CPM, come death may. He quoted the 1974 statement of former party president late P.M.S.A. Pookkoya Thangal that “Death will not get me to associate with CPM”. Majeed reportedly added that Pookkoya Thangal’s words are as hard as steel.
However, Abubaker tried to play down the issue. He told the media that he wanted to take up several problems, related to education and national highways, with the CM. Abubaker told the media that he was not aware of his party’s line. He has not discussed with the party. He did not see any political angle in his participation in the event. He reportedly said, while addressing the event, that the cabinet’s arrival would benefit Kasaragod’s developmental projects.