Is IUML ‘ladder’ leaning towards CPI(M)-led Left?

Thiruvananthapuram, May 13 (IANS) Though it has consistently rejected any proximity to the CPI(M)-led Kerala government, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) the second biggest party of the Congress-led opposition in Kerala, is once again in discussion, this time for its “probable” tilt towards the ruling dispensation.
Known for its political bargaining skills, the party symbol of the IUML is a ladder.
Incidentally, the IUML which contested in 25 seats at the 2021 Assembly polls, won 15 seats and garnered 8.27 per cent of the total votes, which is the fourth among all the parties after CPI(M), Congress and BJP.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party contested two seats which they won with ease.
However, currently, the IUML like many parties in the Congress-led UDF is yet to get over the shock of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan retaining office at the 2021 Assembly polls and that too with an increased tally of seats.
This has never happened in the history of Kerala and hence remaining out of power for 10 years, especially for the allies is tough to digest. When the rival political fronts do not alternate in the seat of power, these allies get jittery and hence things appear to be fluid for the IUML in the current scenario.
The last time, the party created a scare was in 2011 when the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government won by the lowest margin of seats after they got 72 seats in the 140-member Kerala Assembly.
Until then, the practice was the IUML gets four cabinet berths and with the majority in the house a mere two seats, they started putting pressure and after creating a scare put Chandy and the Congress party under duress and extracted a fifth cabinet post.
And this act of succumbing to the IUML by the Congress, came under attack from several quarters.
Now with the Lok Sabha elections just a year away, the grapevine is the IUML is a rift-riddled party with a section of youth and a section of those opposed to its top most leader P.K.Kunhalikutty, seeking more importance in the party, especially when it comes to elections.
For long, the IUML has been contesting two Lok Sabha seats and this time those in the know of things say that they will seek two more seats and settle for one. If the Congress puts its foot down, then it will open a way for the IUML to walk out of the UDF and all know that Vijayan and Kunhalikutty are often on the same page when it comes to real politics.
Speaking to IANS a political analyst said the IUML is known for striking when the iron is hot and with the CPI(M) no longer the party it used to be, none should be surprised in case the IUML seeking greener pastures moves out to the Left.
“Having said that, the IUML is known for its political bargaining and with the Congress in Kerala having its own problems of disunity and dislike among the top leaders, the IUML might well be extracting its pound of flesh and would like to get two if not one extra seat. So the coming days will reveal if the IUML will lean its ‘ladder’ towards the Left,” said the political analyst.

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