Contributing to the BJP's party fund, IUML’s Vanitha League state president Kamarunnisa Anwar wished the right wing party success.

Political maneuvering Rebel Kerala Muslim League leader donates to BJP party fundImage Courtesy: Screengrab/ Asianet News
news Politics Friday, May 05, 2017 - 15:00

The state of Kerala was witness to a rare display of "empathy" on Friday, when a prominent leader of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) contributed to the party fund of a rival political party - the BJP.

Contributing to BJP's party fund in Malappuram, IUML's Vanitha League state president Kamarunnisa Anwar said that the right wing party was "a growing party in the state and outside."

She inaugurated BJP's state fund collection by handing over Rs 2000 to BJP's Tirur constituency president KP Pradeep Kumar.

"I am glad that I could contribute in whatever way possible. I understand that BJP is a party that is growing at a tremendous pace in Kerala and outside. I wish them all luck to do everything possible for the development of our people and the state," she told reporters after contributing.

The Muslim League leader did not stop at that.

"We believe that BJP will do whatever is possible for the development of the state. This is my humble contribution to their efforts," Kamarunnisa said.

Reacting to Kamarunnisa's gesture, IUML's PK Kunhalikutty, who was recently elected as a Member of Parliament, noted that "it was a serious issue." He, however, reserved further comments. Though IUML has not released an official statement, regional media reports indicate that the leaders are set to hold a meeting with state president.

When The News Minute reached out to Rasmil Nath, BJP's General Secretary in Malappuram, he said that there was nothing unusual about leaders of a rival party contributing to another party's fund.

"Just because we belong to two political parties, doesn't mean that we refuse to accept contributions from leaders of other parties. In fact, when we began our state fund collection for Malappuram on May 1, our directive was to approach prominent persons in the district and seek funds. In Tirur, our local leaders spoke to Kamarunnisa over phone, who agreed to contribute. That's how our party representatives went to her residence to collect the money," Rasmil said.

He also added that this was not the first time a leader of IUML or any other rival party has contributed to their fund.

"When representatives of a particular party approach us asking for contribution, we do not generally turn them down. That's not good manners, is it? There's no need to read political meanings into this act, since it is not an unusual thing to do. But if Kamarunnisa has calculated anything political in her mind, then we will look into it at a later time. But we are not aware whether Kamarunnisa's act has ruffled feathers within her own party," Rasmil argued.

Asked whether the decision to approach Kamarunnisa was conveyed to the state-level leaders, Rasmil said that there was no need to do so. He said that it was a decision taken by the local leaders.

Kamarunnisa was not available for comment, as her phone was switched off.

The senior leader has in the past spoken against the IUML leaders though.

In April 2016 just ahead of the state Assembly elections, Kamarunnisa had lashed out at the party for not fielding a single women candidate. She had then said that the men in the party were insecure and feared that women will perform better than them, if given a chance.

She also made news in November last year, when she was prevented from speaking at a gathering by senior IUML leaders, because "women do not speak in a gathering of men."

“Women members don’t generally get invited for such huge public events. I was happy that they decided to invite me this time and was hoping that I would be able to speak at the gathering. I was seated on the dais with the other male leaders, but wasn’t asked to make a speech even as the event was drawing to a close at 10pm,” Kamarunnisa had told TNM then.

As she walked towards the mic to enquire about the delay, the league’s state secretary MC Mayin Haji got up, only to remind her about the party’s history that did not allow women to speak before men.

However, she did not react as strongly as she did when the party denied women members a chance to contest the Assembly election. Kamarunnisa had chosen to play down the insult she had to face in a public event, claiming that "change could not come overnight."

Malappuram has been the stronghold of IUML and according to 2011 census, 70.2% of the population are Muslims. While Hindus constitute 27.6% of the population, Christians form 1.9% of the people in the constituency.

While the BJP opened its account in the state in the Assembly elections held in May last year with O Rajagopal winning from Thiruvananthapuram, the party's vote share in the recently concluded bye-polls had gone down.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the largest ally of the Congress in Kerala, retained the Malappuram Parliament seat, winning the bye-election by a big margin of 1.7 lakh votes. The BJP came out a distant third with a decline in vote share from 7.42% to 7.01% from that of the 2016 Assembly elections.

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