IUML leader Kunhalikutty resigns from Lok Sabha, to spearhead party campaign in Kerala assembly polls

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(Eds: Updates with fresh inputs, background) Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, Feb 4 (PTI) Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader P K Kunhalikutty has resigned from Lok Sabha and will be leading his party's campaign in the assembly elections in Kerala, likely to be held in April-May.

The IUML is a key ally of the opposition Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the state.

Kunhalikutty, who represented Malappuram constituency in Kerala, handed over his resignation letter to Speaker Om Birla at his chamber on Wednesday.

'I have resigned under the directions of the party (IUML) and the UDF,' Kunhalikutty told reporters in Delhi after submitting his resignation.

Birla has accepted the resignation from Feb 3, Meenakshi Lekhi, who was presiding the House, said on Thursday.

The former state Industries and IT minister returned to Kozhikode earlier in the day and straight away got down to work in connection with the arrival of the state-wide 'Aishwarya Yatra' of Leader of the opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala of the Congress there.

The 69-year old leader had in 2017 resigned from Vengara assembly segment and contested and won the byelection to Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency necessitated by the death of former union minister and senior IUML leader E Ahamed.

He retained the seat in the 2019 parliament elections.

Senior IUML leader and Ponnani MP E T Mohammed Basheer said the party had instructed Kunhalikutty to lead and contest in the state assembly polls.

'The decision was taken by the party considering the fact that Kunhalikutty can effectively lead the UDF in Kerala politics in the upcoming elections,' Basheer told the media.

Speculationis rifethat Kunhalikutty might again choose Vengara or switch to Malappuram to try his luck in the assembly polls, which the UDF is keen to win, unseating the LDF. PTI RRT CS UD VS VS