Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), taking issue with Defence Minister A K Antony, on Monday published an article questioning why the minister was so harsh on the Oommen Chandy government, in a speech he made in the state capital last week. The IUML has been disgruntled ever since the Congress leadership turned down its request to elevate its nominee, Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed, to cabinet rank or hand him a portfolio with independent charge.
In a special article in the party organ on Monday, the IUML, the second-biggest constituent in the Congress-led coalition, said: "It's mysterious why Antony made such a remark, especially when Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is working really hard to take Kerala into new realms of development. Of late, Antony does not dabble in state politics and hence it's all the more baffling why he did this." The author of the article is a leader of the youth wing of the party.
At the BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited last week, Antony stunned his audience when he said he did not have the courage to bring more units of his department into Kerala. He also praised the previous Left government of the state, and then industries minister Elamaram Kareem.
On Saturday, at the inauguration of the HAL unit in Kasargode, Antony clarified that he was referring to how politics overtakes everything else in Kerala. He claimed this trend did not augur well for the state. The union minister also claimed that the media had offered numerous interpretations for his statement. Antony said he was angry and upset that there were disruptive trade union activities at a key defence unit like BrahMos.
The IUML party organ, "Chandrika", recalled a speech Antony made ahead of the April 2011 Kerala assembly polls. "Antony was the star campaigner for the Congress-led United Democratic Front. All he had to speak of then was the poor, lacklustre performance of the Achuthanandan government. Today, how come he gives a clean chit to the Left," asked the IUML youth leader.
The president of the student's wing of the Congress, V.S. Joy, said the IUML ought to take disciplinary action against the author of the article. "The IUML leadership is duty bound to explain why such a thing has happened because he has taken on Antony, whose credentials and seniority is known to all," Joy said.
IUML legislator Abdurehman Randathanni, however, played down the article, saying that numerous opinions are expressed in the party organ. "See, the party has already expressed its opinion on Antony's speech. That's the end of the issue," Randathanni said. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is expected to call on Panakkad Hyder Ali Sihab Thangal, the supreme leader of the IUML, at his residence on Monday to discuss developments and soothe the ruffled feathers.