//Kunhalikutty emerges stronger in Muslim League

Kunhalikutty emerges stronger in Muslim League

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P.K. Kunhalikutty was Tuesday asked to take the party forward, marking his re-emergence as a key figure again following a downslide after his alleged involvement in a sex scandal two years ago.

Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, also IUML general secretary, is understood to have told the party leadership to relieve him of the post as he was burdened with his ministerial responsibilities.

IUML supremo Panakkad Mohammed Ali Shihab Thangal told reporters here Tuesday: 'At our meeting today it has been decided to entrust the duties of the general secretary to a team of five of our leaders to be led by Kunhalikutty.'

Though Ahamed will continue as general secretary, his job will be done by the Kunhalikutty-led team.

The fortunes of Kunhalikutty, former Kerala industries minister, took a nosedive in October 2004 when a woman, Rejina, with the help of TV channels in Kerala came out with allegations that she was sexually exploited by Kunhalikutty.

The media hype about the case and with the then opposition led by V.S. Achuthanandan, now chief minister, taking to the streets, Kunhalikutty had to step down in January 2005.

His stock started slipping till it hit rock bottom when in one of the biggest upsets in the assembly polls, he was defeated by one of his former aides K.T. Jaleel, a youngster, with the help of the Left Democratic Front.

To make matters worse, Kunhalikutty, who then was party general secretary, lost the post to E. Ahamed.

Kunhalikutty's organisational and manipulative skills in the past decade had helped the party to emerge stronger within the Congress-led United Democratic Front.

The first task for Kunhalikutty to exhibit his skills would be the Dec 4 assembly by-election to the Thiruvamabady constituency, which the party lost to the Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate Mathai Chacko in the last polls.

The polls were necessitated after Chacko died last month.