Analysis | Has Pinarayi Vijayan used K T Jaleel to destablise a seemingly compact Muslim League

Has Pinarayi Vijayan used K T Jaleel to destablise a seemingly compact Muslim League
Former minister K T Jaleel and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. File photo

The CPM has seemed largely indifferent to the unfolding chaos within the Muslim League but it still can be reasonably suspected of magnifying, if not creating, the crisis.

One, the sudden state of the League's disequilibrium has come about just when major Muslim organisations in Kerala were rallying behind the League against the government in the Muslim scholarship issue. Two, it was CPM (Independent) MLA and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's close confidant, K T Jaleel, who dragged into the open certain issues the League had all this while kept suppressed.

Take, for instance, the Enforcement Directorate's visit to the League's spiritual head Sayeed Hyderali Shihab Thangal to ask him about the financial affairs of Chandrika Daily. It happened last year, and was already known. But it was Jaleel's public utterances that amplified the gravity of the issue and gave it a scandalous ring.

All of a sudden, the murmurs within the League became audible to everyone outside.

Who slayed Kunhalikutty?

Therefore, it was not a surprise when League's tallest leader P K Kunhalikutty, the man whose standing in the party is now at stake, blamed the CPM for the crisis in his party. He said the CPM was trying to shift the focus away from the LDF government's anti-Muslim stance.

Surprise was, Kunhalikutty's political riposte came a tad too late. By the time he blamed the CPM, Kunhalikutty was already cut to size within his own party. Even if the CPM had some hand in forcing the current crisis in the League, it seems highly irrelevant after Hyderali Shihab Thangal's own son, Moyeen Ali, put all the blame for the sordid goings on in the League on P K Kunhalikutty.

At the high-level meeting of the League in Malappuram on August 7, sources said even Kunhalikutty was taken aback by the feeble support he got from other leaders. Proof of this was the collective leadership's refusal to take any disciplinary action against Moyeen Ali for his open vilification of Kunhalikutty.

Has Pinarayi Vijayan used K T Jaleel to destablise a seemingly compact Muslim League
PK Kunhalikutty and KT Jaleel

Jaleel's blackmail, Thangal's silence

After the meeting, Sadik Ali Shihab Thangal, the brother of Hyderali Thangal who chaired the meeting, merely said Moyeen Ali's public statements were "unnecessary". He refused to touch upon the merit of Moyeen's charges.

Also, the Thangal family has not even bothered to expose Jaleel's threat that he would publish an audio clip of Kunhalikutty's conversation with Hyderali Shihab Thangal if any action was taken against Moyeen Ali. Jaleel has claimed that the clip, if published, would end Kunhalikutty's political career.

The Thangal family's refusal to rubbish Jaleel's claims is ominous for Kunhalikutty because, if at all such a clip exists, only a Thangal family member could have handed it over to Jaleel. It almost seems as if the Thangal family is working in tandem with Jaleel, a former League man.

Stink from Chandrika

Another sign of Kunhalikutty's marginalisation within the party was the suspension of a League worker, said to be Kunhalikutty's lackey, who had showered abuses on Moyeen Ali on the day of the press conference.

What's more, Kunhalikutty cannot blame the CPM, or even detractors within his party, for emphasising the seriousness of the charge of money laundering using Chandrika. This was done by Chandrika's employees themselves.

In a letter to the Muslim League leadership, the employees have listed a slew of fraudulent deals, including the disappearance of crores collected as subscription amount and for the modernisation of the daily.

Has Pinarayi Vijayan used K T Jaleel to destablise a seemingly compact Muslim League

The masked statements of leaders like Dr M K Muneer and K M Shaji, which essentially did not find anything improper about Moyeen Ali's public outburst, also gave the impression that the anti-Kunhalikutty voices are on the ascendant in the League.

CPM, a mere spectator

Now that the League has imploded from within, the CPM can easily, and with conviction, wash its hands of the crisis. "It is clear that the problems in the Muslim League is the result of a dispute related to corruption money," A Vijayaraghavan, CPM's acting state secretary, said on Monday.

"They are now accusing the LDF of working against the interests of minorities. This is a strange charge. Even League supporters would struggle to explain this. The LDF has the support of all sections of people," Vijayaraghavan said. Further, he asked how the Chandrika issue could be linked to the CPM. "This crisis in the League is the result of their policy deviations ," he said.

Has Pinarayi Vijayan used K T Jaleel to destablise a seemingly compact Muslim League
A Vijayaraghavan

End of scholarship row

The Muslim scholarship issue is now largely forgotten, without the CPM putting up any political defence. Just before the troubles began, following the League's call for unity in the scholarship issue, all major Muslim outfits with deep influence in the community - Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulema, factions of the Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen, Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim Educational Society, Muslim Service Society and Wisdom Islamic Organisation - had banded together and formed a front, 'Sachar Samrakshana Samiti', against the government.

It looked like the League was once again emerging as the true representative of the Muslim community in Kerala. The Muslim brotherhood formed under the League wanted the scholarship benefits that came out of the Sachar Committee recommendations to be limited exclusively for Muslim candidates.

After a High Court verdict, the LDF government had reworked the scholarship ratio on the basis of population. As a consequence, the 80:20 ratio in favoujr of the Muslim community changed to approximately 60:40, still favouring Muslims but with greater benefits for the Christian community.

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