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IUML rules out Kunhalikutty's resignation

By Our Staff Reporter

KOZHIKODE, DEC. 5. The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leadership has decided not to budge from its earlier stand on the demand for resignation of the Industries Minister, P.K. Kunhalikutty, who is allegedly involved in the Kozhikode ice-cream parlour sex scandal case.

The decision was taken at an informal meeting of the party president, Panakkad Syed Mohammedali Shihab Thangal, the general secretary, Mr. Kunhalikutty, and the national secretary and Union Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahamed, at Thangal's residence at Panakkad in Malappuram district today.

The leaders felt that no fresh decision on the resignation issue will be made under the present circumstances. In a resolution on November 11, the party's State committee dismissed the sex scandal case as `baseless' and as "a result of a conspiracy hatched by vested interests to finish off the party."

Briefing presspersons after the meeting today, Mr. Ahamed said that Rejina, the key witness and victim in the case, is retracting her statements often. The truth is yet to be established. The demand for Mr. Kunhalikutty's resignation was sought for only when she made statements against him, he said.

He said that the party had not discussed the demand for resignation with the Congress high command. The Central leadership has not asked the IUML for Mr. Kunhalikutty's resignation. "The party hopes that the Congress will not make such a demand," Mr. Ahamed said. Mr. Ahamed said that the issue was IUML's internal affair. He said that it maintained good relations with the Congress at the Centre. He asked the Opposition to call off its agitations over the issue.

Message to Congress

With today's decision, the IUML wants to give a clear message to the Congress high command that it will not bow to pressure from that party. It also wants to give the impression that it will not desert Mr. Kunhalikutty although the Opposition Left parties and the BJP are baying for his resignation.

Party sources said that if the Congress high command asks Mr. Kunhalikutty to step down, he will in turn demand that the three other IUML Ministers, M.K. Muneer, K. Kutty Ahmed Kutty and E.T. Mohammed Basheer quit the State Cabinet and that E. Ahamed relinquish his Cabinet berth at the Centre.

Although Mr. Kunhalikutty and Mr. Ahamed have differences on many issues, they will not play any game detrimental to each other's political interests. But if the Congress high command intervenes, Mr. Ahamed will have no option but to abide by the decision.

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