Thiruvananthapuram, July 2: With strains in their relationship denting the image of Kerala's UDF Government, key coalition partners Congress and Indian Union Muslim League today moved to damage-control mode as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and League leader P K Kunhalikutty met here today.
After their interaction in the presence of UDF convener P P Thankachan, Chandy and Kunhalikutty sent clear signals that the Congress-League alliance is intact and no one would be allowed to create fissures in that. They also sent a message to their respective party functionaries to refrain from making open statements against each other.
According to UDF sources, both sides felt that it is all the more essential for the coalition to stand united when the government is under attack from the Opposition LDF over the alleged solar scam.
"IUML is an integral partner of the UDF and no one would be allowed to insult the allies," Chandy told reporters.
Kunhalikutty said his party leaders had been advised to avoid making open statements against Congress leaders. The second largest partner in the UDF, IUML had voiced strong resentment at certain sharp critical comments made by KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala against the party last week.
As a mark of protest, IUML had backed off from a pre-fixed bilateral talks with the Congress, fuelling speculation that the UDF is heading to a serious crisis. Speaking at a function held in Kozhikode a few days back to commemorate freedom fighter and late Congress stalwart C K Govindan Nair, Chennithala had said Nair adopted a cautious approach on entering into ties with parties like IUML.
Apparently drawing parallels with the current scenario, he also said he appreciated the late leader's premonition. Chennithala was instantly backed by two other senior Congress leaders-- former KPCC president K Muraleedharan and Electricity Minister Aryadan Muhammad, which prompted the League leaders to launch a counter-offensive as they thought that their outbursts were part of a calculated move to run down the party.
A section in the Congress is of the view that IUML has been violating coalition principles and securing its 'narrow interests' by applying pressure tactics since the present ministry came to power in 2011.