K M Shaji’s tirade against Yusuffali creates ripples in Muslim League- The New Indian Express

By Express News Service

KOZHIKODE:  Muslim League state secretary K M Shaji’s outburst against NRI businessman Yusuffali M A over his remarks on the Opposition for boycotting the Loka Kerala Sabha has created ripples within the party. Shaji has become an instant hero of the party workers on social media, who hail him as the true representative of the Opposition.

Though Shaji’s anger during the speech in Bahrain on Saturday was directed at the businessman, many believe IUML national general secretary P K Kunhalikutty was the real target. Shaji said the businessman (without naming Yusuffali) may have reasons to please Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to protect his business interests. “You can do that, but don’t try to purchase IUML,” he said.

While addressing the Loka Kerala Sabha on Friday, Yusuffali had criticised the UDF’s decision to abstain from the conference. Shaji’s remarks have surprised the political observers as Yusuffali maintains a good relationship with political figures, including Kunhalikutty.

According to them, Shaji’s reference to ‘purchasing’ the party is an innuendo on the alleged Pinarayi-Kunhalikutty-Yusuffali axis. Kunhalikutty’s detractors believe he is soft towards the LDF government because of his proximity with CM, which is mediated by Yusuffali. 

We respect the stature of Yusuffali, says Thangal

Kunhalikutty’s near absence in the UDF agitation in the wake of the revelations by the gold smuggling case accused is interpreted by many as the indirect fallout of an agreement. The ‘secret meeting’ between the IUML leader and K T Jaleel at Kuttippuram a few months ago had fuelled many speculations.

Shaji also blasted the leaders of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) — the feeder organisation of the IUML — who had attended the Loka Kerala Sabha. He said the duty of KMCC representatives should be to present the party’s view point at the conference and not to eulogise the LDF government.

The Congress and IUML had allowed the representatives of their NRI organisations to take part in the conference while the UDF leaders boycotted the event for political reasons. There was pressure from some corners to force Shaji to apologise to Yusuffali or at least disown his remarks considering the influence wielded by the NRI businessman.

But social media activists of the party opposed it tooth and nail, saying there is no question of any apology. Meanwhile, IUML state president Panakkad Syed Sadiq Ali Shihab Thangal said the UDF decided to boycott the Loka Kerala Sabha taking into consideration the volatile situation existing in the state.

“What Yusuffali said is his opinion and we respect his stature,” Thangal said. Kunhalikutty, who was also present at the press conference in Kollam, did not react saying Thangal has explained everything.