Left front's ally INL splits after street fight in Kochi

INL party workers
Screengrab of INL party workers clashing on the street in Kochi on Sunday.

The Indian National League (INL), an ally of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala, split on Sunday hours after the workers of two factions of the party clashed with each other in Kochi.

INL state president Abdul Wahab ousted general secretary Qasim Irikkur from the post. Following this, Wahab and Irikkur convened separate meetings of the party secretariat. Wahab called a meeting at Thoppumpady while the faction headed by Irikkur held its meeting at Aluva. 

The split happened a fortnight after the CPM, which leads the LDF, had warned the INL over factional feud. 

Kochi witnessed high drama on Sunday as INL workers came to blows on the street while a 20-member state secretariat, comprising minister Ahammad Devarkovil, was convened at a hotel in the city.

Earlier, it was alleged that the state secretariat had ignored a police order against hosting the meeting during the weekend lockdown. Speaking to media persons outside the hotel, Devarkovil claimed that he was unaware of the fight that broke outside the venue. He said the meeting was held in adherence to the COVID protocol.

Wahab said that the meeting had also ended in disharmony after Irikkur allegedly tried to force the expulsion of two secretariat members.

"The state general secretary has been behaving like an authoritarian. We have received several complaints against him in the last three years," Wahab told Manorama News. He alleged that Irikkur also insulted two senior members, including OPI Koya from Kozhikode, at the secretariat.

The internal disputes in INL have been brewing for long with the Wahab faction accusing Devarkovil and Irikkur of taking decisions without consulting with the other office-bearers.

Recently, the two factions had argued over the appointment to the personal staff to minister Devarkoil, which angered the CPM. The INL state leaders were summoned to the State capital and urged to put their house in order.

Minister Devarkovil was recently accused of taking a donation from an Indian Union Muslim League MP for his campaign from the Kozhikode South assembly constituency.

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