CPM backs a rebel who revolted against Kunhalikutty to battle IUML in Ponnani

K S Hamsa with P K Kunhalikutty. File photo: Facebook/@kshamzasahib

Malappuram: The CPM has fielded a rebel candidate in the Ponnani Lok Sabha constituency, which has traditionally been held by the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).

The party leadership considered fielding one of its own, and DYFI state president V Vaseef's name emerged in the early stages. But it is K S Hamsa who has been nominated as an independent candidate by the CPM state secretariat. Vaseef, meanwhile, will contest from Malappuram.

Hamsa, who had been a state secretary of the IUML, was expelled over disciplinary issues. A rift with IUML strongman P K Kunhalikutty led to his unceremonious exit. Hamsa later accused the IUML of holding talks with RSS at the behest of Kunhalikutty.

Hamsa turned into a staunch opponent of Kunhalikutty at a top-level party meeting, where he said the IUML General Secretary did not criticise Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he was scared of the Directorate of Enforcement. He also claimed that Kunhalikutty was unwilling to oppose Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan out of fear of the Vigilance.

The criticism shook up Kunhalikutty who readily offered to resign as the deputy leader of the opposition. IUML state president Panakkad Sayyid Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal pacified Kunhalikutty and set up a disciplinary committee to enquire into an allegation that Hamsa leaked party secrets to the media. The enquiry led to the Hamsa's exit.

The IUML has yet to finalise its candidates and it is understood that the party plans to swap its sitting MPs between Ponnani and Malappuram constituencies.

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