Abdullakutty grew through the SFI, was a two time MP from CPI(M) and a two time MLA from Congress. And now, he has lavishly praised Modi.

A politician without ideology Congs AP Abdullakutty is planning to jump ship to BJPImage Courtesy: AP Abdullakutty Facebook Page.
news Politics Friday, May 31, 2019 - 17:37

AP Abdullakutty was hailed as Athbhuthakutty – a wonder kid – when he defeated Congress’s mighty Mullappally Ramachandran in the 1999 Lok Sabha elections in Kannur. He repeated the feat in the 2004 elections as well. Abdullakutty represented the CPI(M) in both the elections. Mullappally’s defeat sent shock waves across the Congress for he had won the Parliamentary constituency in 1984, 1989, 1991, 1996 and 1998.

Mullappally never again contested from Kannur. In 2009 and 2014 elections he instead contested from the neighbourhood Vadakara.

But the then-giant slayer, Abdullakutty, soon quit CPI(M) to switch allegiance to the Congress in 2009, even while he was the sitting MP from Kannur. And going by his comments in the last couple of days, looks like this shrewd politician is set to jump ship once again – this time, going to the opposite end of his starting point in the Left and teaming up with the BJP.

In a Facebook post, Abdullakutty showered praise on PM Narendra Modi, claiming Modi follows the “Gandhian model of development”. While Abdullakutty has denied any political maneuvering, Congress has ordered a probe into the issue.

Alienating the CPI(M)

Abdullakutty's elevation as a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections in 1999 was widely welcomed, especially because he represents the minority community. His first victory in 1999 was at the age of 28 when he was the state president of the Students Federation of India, the students' wing of the CPI(M).

In 2009, when he was the sitting MP of Kannur, Abdullakutty did what was seen as a deliberate attempt to rub the CPI(M) leadership the wrong way. He praised Narendra Modi – who was then the Chief Minister of Gujarat – for developing roads in the state by demolishing temples, and for not having hartal or bandh in the state, urging Kerala to learn from investment-friendly Gujarat.

As a person who was well aware of CPI(M)’s disciplinary methods, Abdullakutty knew the repercussions – and soon, he was expelled. The party, that had suspended him first, hoped that would force him to repent and toe the party line – however, Abdullakutty only lashed out at the party openly in a press conference.

The rise before the fall

Abdullakutty took no time to join the Congress after that. K Sudhakaran, the indisputable leader of the Congress in the red bastion of Kannur, was Abdullakutty's mentor in the party. His entry was preceded by meetings with the then-Defence Minister of India, AK Antony, the then-KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala, and Opposition Leader in the state, Oommen Chandy.

Though it was expected that the party might field him from Kasargode in the 2009 elections, he was handpicked for the bye-elections that were held for three seats in November. Abdullakutty won Kannur Assembly constituency by a margin of 12,000 votes in the bye-polls and defeated CPI(M)'s prominent face, MV Jayarajan, who is at present the party's district secretary of Kannur. The bye-elections at that time were necessitated in three seats – Kannur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha – after the sitting MLAs, K Sudhakaran, KV Thomas and KC Venugopal respectively, got elected to the Lok Sabha.

Abdullakutty won from the Kannur seat again for the Congress in the 2011 Assembly elections.

And three years later, he landed in one of the biggest controversies the state has witnessed.

A political plateau

In 2014, Saritha S Nair, the prime accused in the solar scam that shook the Congress-led Ooommen Chandy government, came out with sexual harassment complaints against Abdullakutty. The police even booked him for alleged sexual harassment.

The solar scam was instrumental for the poll debacle of the UDF in the 2016 Assembly elections. Saritha S Nair had levelled the same allegations against several other Congress; leaders too.

She accused Abdullakutty of sending her obscene late-night messages and inviting her several times to meet him at a hotel; in the police complaint she said that he had tried to sexually assault her.

But despite this, the Congress gave him a seat for the third consecutive time in the 2016 Assembly elections – and Abdullakutty tasted failure for the first time. His lost to his former SFI colleague AN Shamseer in Thalassery, which is the stronghold of the CPI(M) in Kannur.

A lawyer by qualification who passed in LLB in 1999, Abdullakutty, began practicing following the poll defeat.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, his disagreement with the party came to the fore in a Facebook post in which he criticised former KPCC President VM Sudheeran, after he was denied a seat. Abdullakutty was eyeing the Kasargode seat.

And with his praise of Narendra Modi now, political observers feel he’s doing to the Congress what he did to CPI(M).

Congress leaders irked

VM Sudheeran has called Abdullakutty an opportunist for praising Modi and said that his statement is a hint that he won’t remain in the party. He even said that there was a lack of vigilance on the part of the Congress, for receiving him when the CPI(M) expelled him.

Mullappally Ramachandran, who had one of the biggest twists in his political career because of Abdullakutty, and is now the KPCC president, has called for stringent action against Abdullakutty.

With other Congress leaders also lashing out at Abdullakutty, the Congress mouthpiece Veekshanam published an editorial with scathing attack on the leader on Thursday (May 30).

The editorial is titled “Abdullakutty Enna Keeramutty”, and said, “Abdullakutty came to the Congress from the CPI(M) with a bundle of greed for power, and now he is preparing the same bundle again. He has a habit of cutting the branch on which he sits. He now desires to take a bath in a lotus pond. His shift in leaning is because he was not chosen as the candidate for Kasargode though he wanted to be. He is making plans to be the BJP's candidate in the Manjeswaram bye-election. And it is desirable for the Congress let him go on his way.”

 

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