IUML to support UPA (Lead, Changing dateline)

July 11th, 2008 - 1:03 am ICT by IANS  

Malappuram (Kerala), July 10 (IANS) Setting at rest all speculation, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) Thursday said it will support the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in case of a confidence vote. The decision was taken at a meeting of the national leaders of the party held at the residence of IUML supremo Panakkad Muhammadali Shihab Thangal here Thursday evening.

“The Muslim League is a constituent of the UPA. We will give support the government if it were to face a confidence vote,” E. Ahamed, IUML leader and minister of state for external affairs, told reporters here.

“We have certain opinion on the India-US civil nuclear deal and we will discuss it at the UPA coordination committee meeting tomorrow. The details of the discussion will be conveyed to the party state president and it is for him to take an appropriate decision,” he said.

At the meeting, the party asked Ahamed to convey its concerns on the nuclear deal to the UPA.

“We will take a definite stand on the nuclear issue at the UPA coordination committee meeting. We don’t know whether the government will yield to our demand when they haven’t retracted from the deal even after so much pressure from the Left,” IUML state secretary E.T. Muhammed Basheer told IANS.

Party sources said IUML might consider withdrawing Ahamed from the central cabinet given the opposition to the deal among a section of the Muslim community.

On Ahamed’s possible resignation, Basheer said: “Since we haven’t said anything on this, there is nothing wrong in such speculations.”

A decision on the issue is expected to be taken after Friday’s UPA meeting in New Delhi, IUML state general secretary P.K. Kunjalikkutty told reporters.

Earlier, responding to Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan’s demand for his resignation over the nuclear deal, Ahamed said the Marxist leader should not advice the Muslim League on what steps it should take on the issue.

The League’s attack on the Left came as Kerala’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist began criticising its position over the nuclear deal. The League leadership believes it could counter the CPI-M attack by highlighting the similarities in the Marxist and BJP stance on the deal.

The IUML has only one MP - Ahamed - as it suffered a setback in the 2004 general elections when it lost its stronghold, the Manjeri constituency.

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