The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has found itself cornered on charges of holding secret talks with extremist Muslim organisation leaders.
CCTV visuals of the secret meeting held by the League candidates, PK Kunhalikutty and ET Mohammed Basheer, with SDPI leaders have gone viral forcing League to claim that there were no secret talks and the candidates had gone to the hotel for personal reasons. The meeting was arranged at KTDC hotel Tamarind at Thurakkal in Kondotty.
League national general secretary and Malappuram candidate Kunhalikutty and Basheer, who is to contest from Ponnani, were seen with SDPI leaders Nasarudheen Elamaram and P Abdul Majeed Faisi.
Nasarudheen, along with five other leaders, reached the hotel around 8 pm by when Basheer took room 105 in the hotel. Nasarudheen and other leaders dropped in very soon and were joined in another 10 minutes by Kunhalikutty. All left the hotel the next day around 9:30 am.
According to sources, the meeting was said to be for reaching an understanding with the SDPI for the Ponnani seat where the going is said to be tough for Basheer. He has been facing stiff opposition from a large section in Congress.
To add to the League woes, the charge levelled by LDF Independent candidate PV Anwar that UDF convenor Benny Behnan was also present which the latter has denied. During the 2014 election, the SDPI candidates got 47,000 votes in Malappuram and 26,000 in Ponnani.
Basheer told mediapersons that he had gone to the hotel in connection with a programme and coincidentally, SDPI leaders were also there. A meeting with SDPI was not needed as it had already announced its candidates, he added.
However, SDPI state president Faisi clarified that a meeting was held with League leaders regarding the coming LS polls. He added that his participation at the meeting was on the request of League leaders. They sought the help of SDPI in Ponnani. But Faisi claimed that it was made clear that it was not possible since SDPI had gone ahead with its electioneering.