Abdul Nasir Maudany, the once fiery Muslim leader, is accusing the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) of trying to politically corner him over his growing ties with the Marxists.
The 43-year-old chief of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) says the IUML, the oldest Muslim political party in Kerala, is desperate because he has started exposing what he says is a poor track record.
In an interview with IANS at a hotel in the city suburbs, Maudany discussed at length why he has become a media star on the eve of the Lok Sabha elections.
"Even though our enemy is the Sangh Parivar, the IUML has turned jittery ever since I undertook a tour of the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district," said Maudany, whose left leg was blown away in a bomb attack on him in August 1992. Looking fresh after the evening prayers, he was dressed in a flowing white kurta and pyjama.
The IUML has traditionally dominated the political scene in Malappuram. Naturally, the PDP leader says, it cannot afford to see crowds flocking to hear him.
Maudany said Malappuram was the most backward of all districts in Kerala industrially even though the industry portfolio in the state has in the past been held by IUML's PK Kunhalikutty and E Ahamed.
Of the 110 state-owned public sector units in the state, none has a presence in Malappuram, he said.
But both in 2007 and 2008 the district came on top over New Year liquor sales, he pointed out.
"As I took on the IUML in their backyard, came the reports that a few Malayali youths killed by the police in Jammu and Kashmir had links with me. The IUML felt this was the time to strike," said Maudany.
He denied that his new found friendship with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which heads Kerala's ruling Left Democratic Front, was not meant to be a buffer vis-a-vis the IUML, the second biggest partner in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
"We decided to support the Left ever since they took a strong anti-imperialist stance when the (Manmohan Singh) government decided to go ahead with the (India-US) nuclear agreement," he said.
"Since then the IUML has become jittery and begun to link my name and that of my wife to terrorists (in Kashmir). They used that opportunity to hit back at me," added Maudany.
He said the CPI-M had understood that he was a changed man -- after his release from jail in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in 2007. He was jailed after being linked to the 1998 serial bombings in Coimbatore.
"My association with the CPI-M ... (has no) ulterior motives; so the question of (we) being dumped after the election does not arise. We never asked for an entry into the LDF," Maudany said.
Son of a retired school principal in Kollam district, Maudany is a postgraduate from the Jamai-Nooriya Islamic College in Malappuram district. He runs the Anwarul Islam Islamic College and was its principal when he was arrested.
Maudany, who was once more feared than respected in Kerala, said his 10 years in prison in Coimbatore had made him physically weak as he never got proper medical care.
Maudany makes it a point to rub it in that he has never spoken the way Bharatiya Janata Party's Varun Gandhi has -- making anti-Muslim statements -- although critics accused the PDP leader of being a communalist.
"Even during the post-Babri Masjid demolition when passion was whipped up, my stand was that even if 1,000 mosques were demolished, do not take even a handful of sand from the compounds of temples," he added. "We are being targeted unnecessarily."