Triple Talaq bill passage triggers new row in Kerala

The Lok Sabha passing the 'controversial' triple talaq bill on Thursday after a fierce debate on the motion and voting has triggered a new controversy in Kerala politics over the absence of P K Kunhalikutty, a Parliament member from Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) party.

The party along with Congress and other opposition parties was against the bill. But during the debate and voting, the absence of one of its two members raised questions of the party's commitment towards the Muslim community.

P K Kunhalikutty
P K Kunhalikutty. (Credit: Facebook)

As per reports, the former Kerala IT minister on Thursday was attending a wedding function in a Gulf business tycoon's resident in Malappuram District. People including IUML's supporters criticised Kunhalikutty's absent on social media and questioned the MP's priority.

On Friday, K T Jaleel, a Minister in Pinarayi Vijayan-led government, also takes a dig over Kunhalikutty's absence. "People, who don't show interest in participating in debates should not be sent to Parliament. By this, Muslim League is cheating the community," the minister said as a veiled attack against his former opponent during Assembly polls in 2006.

Muslim League on Friday justified the absence of its MP during a crucial debate. M K Muneer party state secretary said Kunhalikutty was busy in other engagements in Kerala and party with other opposition parties had decided to walk out. "The decision to participate in the voting was last time move," he said.

However, E T Muhammed Basheer, another MP from IUML who voted in Parliament, said the UPA had not taken any decision to walk out prior to the debate. "How could we sit in the House if we had taken such decision?" he asks.

At the same time, Kunhalikutty explained that participating in the voting was an impromptu decision. "Our initial decision was to walk out from the House after the debate, but we along with other parties decided to attend the voting in the last time. Basheer had discussed this with me," he said in a press release.

Anyway, the absence of IUML's tallest leader in crucial legislation, which directly affect the Muslim community, has created ripples among its electorate. Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, one of the largest Muslim organisations in Kerala and staunch vote bank of IUML, has already raised eyebrow against Kunhalikutty.

Other parties like Welfare Party and Indian National League (INL) has criticised the MP. Congress and CPM are yet to respond.

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