Thiruvananthapuram: Virtually rejecting the demand of IUML, the second largest partner in the ruling UDF, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said bifurcation of Malappuram District was not on the agenda of his government.
The possibility of dividing the populous district has gained currency with the district committee of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) deciding to press for it citing environmental and developmental reasons.
"Formation of new districts is not on the government's agenda," was the brief reply of Chandy when reporters asked about the IUML's demand.
A sprawling and thickly populated districts in the Malabar region, Malappuram has always been an IUML stronghold. The party reprsents 12 of the 16 assembly seats and two Lok Sabha constituencies in the district.
The League's proposal is for bifurcation of the district to form a new one with Tirur as its headquarters encompassing mostly the coastal belt of the area.
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."