Malappuram: Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), second largest partner in the ruling Congress-led UDF in Kerala, has decided to press for bifurcation of Malappuram district, citing administrative and development reasons.
According to IUML sources, the party's district unit has already adopted a resolution in this regard and placed it before the UDF state committee with the approval of the state leadership before formally taking it up with the government.
One of the most populous districts of Kerala with a population of 4.5 million, Malappuram has always been an IUML stronghold. The party represents 12 of the 16 Assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies of the district.
The League's proposal is bifurcation of the district to form a new one with Tirur as its headquarters encompassing mostly the coastal belt of the area.
Being a thickly populated and sprawling district, the bifurcation is justified not only on administrative reasons, but also required for further development of the region, an IUML leader said.
"We expect that all political parties would support the demand. We will try to work out a political consensus and place the demand before the UDF," a senior IUML leader said.
Malappuram district was formed in 1969 by the Left ministry headed by late CPI-M stalwart E M S Namboodiripad by taking away parts of erstwhile Kozhikode and Palakkad districts.
Formation of the district was then seen as a reflection of the growing clout of IUML, a partner in the then EMS ministry.
Though most parties supported it, Jan Sangh, which later became BJP, launched an agitation against formation of the district, holding that it would promote "sectarian interests."
"In the changed scenario, we don't think even BJP would oppose the demand for division of the district since everybody knows that the central issue is administrative convenience and fast paced development," IUML sources said.