Strains in Cong-IUML ties in Kerala over Chennithala's comments
Strains have surfaced in the long-standing relations between Congress and IUML, two key partners of ruling UDF in Kerala, following certain comments by KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala against the League.
Miffed by the speech of Chennithala and couple of other Congress leaders at a meeting in Kozhikode yesterday, top IUML leaders held an emergency meeting at party supremo Panakkad Hyderali Shihan Thangal's residence in Malappuram today.
They later came out with a strong statement that maintaining unity of the UDF was the responsibility of all partners and not that of the League alone.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, however, sought to playdown the development holding that Chennithala's speech was distorted and misinterpreted by a section of media.
Talking to reporters at Kochi, Chandy said Chennithala had himself clarified this and added that IUML had always been a key ally of the Congress in the state.
While speaking at a function held in Kozhikode to commemorate freedom fighter and late Congress stalwart C K Govindan Nair, Chennithala had said Nair adopted a cautious stand while dealing with community outfits and parties.
He said he fully endorsed the late leader's cautious approach as the Congress had to suffer whenever it crossed the "Lakshman rekha" in relations with such outfits.
Chennithala's remarks were interpreted as a dig at the IUML and the "pressure tactics" it applied in securing its interests as a key partner in the UDF Ministry headed by Chandy.
Talking to reporters after their meeting, League leaders E T Muhammad Basheer and KPA Majeed did not conceal their displeasure at the remarks by Chennithala and other senior Congress leaders K Muraleedharan and Aryadan Muhammad, who were present at the function at Kozhikode yesterday.
"Keeping the UDF stable and united is not the responsibility of the League alone. It is the responsibility of all the partners including the Congress," they said.
The state secretariat of the party will be held on July 4 in Kozhikode to discuss the development in detail, they said.