Thiruvananthapuram, March 7: The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the second largest ally in the ruling United Democratic Front in Kerala, has decided not to give ticket to any woman candidate for the Assembly elections on May 16, an article in The News Minute said.
The decision was taken ignoring the demand of the party's women's wing, Vanitha League, to allocate at least one seat to a woman candidate from the wing, the report said.
It also added that though dissatisfied, the women's body did not want to create an issue out of this to invite ire of the IUML leadership and the clergy.
It is known in Kerala politics that the IUML leadership often ignores women candidates to avoid facing the wrath of the clergy belonging to two prominent Sunni factions---that of Kanthapuram AP Abubacker Musliyar and the EK faction which owes its allegiance to the Muslim League.
In November last year, Musliyar faced a strong criticism for his remarks that "gender equality is against Islamic" and "women are fit only to deliver children".
Two women whose names were being discussed as potential candidates from the IUML camp in this election are of KP Mariyumma and Noorbina Rasheed, both advocates. Mariyumma has been elected the president of the Malappuram district panchayat while Noorbina is a member of the state's women's commission, The News Minute article said.
Sources in the Vanitha League said the IUML leadership was positive to the demand initially but then changed its mind. The party, on the other hand, said it had to accommodate five ministers and 11 sitting legislators. It said the women candidates would have been considered if it had the scope to field more candidates.
Sources in the Vanitha League said they had mooted the names of both Mariyumma and Noorbina to be considered as candidates to contest the Assembly election. "The party leadership was very positive to our claim in the beginning. We don't know why and how things went awry," sources said.
Asked why the Vanitha League leaders were not considered for the Assembly elections, IUML state general secretary KPA Majeed said that the party had to accommodate five ministers and 11 sitting MLAs. "We wanted to give seats to a few leaders from the Muslim Youth League," he said adding that the party would have considered female candidates if it could field more candidates.