Kozhikode: Even as it remains a dream of Muslim League's rank and file for their party to contest in three Lok Sabha seats, the leadership is likely to stop short of clinching it by excess pressure. The leaderhip is partly influenced by the storm earlier created by having won a fifth ministerial post in the last UDF cabinet, a decision which did not go well with many quarters. The League leaders do not want to let the party have an image of playing power politics of that brand.
In addition, Muslim League feels it would be better to wait and grab a Rajya Sabha seat in the next round, or demand more seats in the next assembly elections, than to get an unprospective constituency. Therefore, the party may now focus on getting an assurance from the UDF leadership on these later share.
Over the last three decades, Muslim League has never contested more than two seats. However, that was not the case in 1970s. In 1971 there were four League representatives in Lok Sabha: party's national president Mohammed Ismail from Manjeri, National General Secretary Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait from Kozhikode, National leader Abu Tali Chaudhary from Murshidabad, West Bengal and SM Sherif from Ramanathapuram, Tamilnadu. In 1977, although League's PK Abdulla was declared as candidate for Lok Sabha seat in Kasargode, he withdrew subsequently, leaving the berth for Congress's Rama Rai as UDF candidate.
In 1991, in Vadakara Lok Sabha constituency, which was allotted to Muslim League, instead of contesting from there, Advocate M Ratna Singh was hoisted as an independent candidate with joint League-Congress-BJP support. But he lost to KP Unnikrishnan of LDF.
In the assembly election held together with this, League withdrew its own candidate from Beypore constituency, and Dr K Madhavan Kuttiy was nominated with the support of BJP. But he also lost to LDF's CPM candidate TK Hamza. Ever since then, League has not contested in more than two Lok Sabha constituencies. This time, there has been strong pressure from Muslim Youth League, and League's supporting religious faction of Samastha, that the party should contest in three seats.
The claim for the third seat was at one point declared as legitimate by party's state general secretary KPA Majeed, and national leaders PK Kunhalikutti and ET Mohammed Basheer. This was endorsed by KPCC spokesman K Muraleedharan too. All put together there was an impression that League's third candidate would become a reality, but that stumbled on obstacles during the bilateral discussions with the UDF leaders. Unlike Kerala Congress, Muslim League refrained from raising it as a life and death issue, thereby ending that saga for the time being.