With an excellent performance in the Kerala local body polls, Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) on Saturday edged out the Communist Party of India (CPI) to become the third biggest party in the state.
"We have proved that we are a truly secular party by winning seats across the state. The CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist) has time and again been levelling baseless allegations and even questioning our secular nature," said senior IUML leader PK Kunhalikutty.
"On one hand, they blame us for being communal but in the recent polls it became quite clear that it was the CPI-M who joined hands with parties like PDP, SDPI (formerly Popular Front of India) and Jamaat-i-Islami," he said.
IUML won 1,443 seats in the village panchayats, 190 at the block level, 32 at the district level, 234 in the municipalities and five in the four corporations and their tally is all set to increase as counting in one of their strongholds - Kozhikode district - is to be taken up on Sunday.
The CPI, which was earlier at the third position, has got only 979 seats in the village panchayats.
"Our presence now spans across the state and we are a dominant force all over. We have hugely improved our position in districts like Wayanad, Palakkad, Trissur and Ernakulam. The only place we did not do as expected was here (Thiruvananthapuram)," said Kunhalikutty.
"This election also proved that the minority community does not see the CPI-M as their saviour as always claimed by them," said Kunhalikutty.