THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Though Mr P. K. Kunhalikutty's victory margin has come down compared to that of E. Ahmed in the 2014 elections, the UDF feels relieved that it could maintain its lead in all the seven Assembly segments in the Lok Sabha constituency. Moreover, the votes of AP Sunni faction, Social Democratic Party of India, Welfare Party of India and the PDP have gone to the LDF candidate. Ahmed was elected from Malappuram by a record margin of 1.94 lakh votes in 2014. The vote percentage of UDF in 2014, which was 51.28, has increased to 55.04 now. However, Kunhalikutty was under pressure to overtake his predecessor’s victory margin, but the CPM’s M.B. Faisal was stronger than P. K. Sainaba, who was pitted by the party against Ahmed in 2014.
“This time the Left candidate managed to get one lakh plus vote because the PDP had supported Faisal and the SDPI and Welfare Party had campaigned for conscience vote. The Sunni votes of Kanthapuram faction also benefited the LDF,” said Johnny Nellore, Kerala Congress (Jacob) chairman. The SDPI is the political wing of the Popular Front of India and the Welfare Party is attached to Jamaat-e-Islami. However, SDPI state president, Majeed Faizy told DC that the leadership had asked its 45, 000 voters to vote for the UDF. “The CPM did not support us in the Kodinji Faizal case where the prosecution took a favourable stand towards the RSS culprits. Last month, a Muslim cleric was killed in Kasargod where the RSS culprits are yet to be nabbed. So, even in our internal meetings we have not favoured the CPM candidate,” said Majeed Faizy.
Abdul Hameed, president of Welfare Party, denied that his party had supported the LDF candidate. He told DC that he had urged the 30, 000 voters not to vote for the LDF and the UDF as they are known for their anti-people policies. “We decided not to field a candidate in Malappuram as it was a mere by-election following the death of Ahmed. We had urged the voters to abstain from voting and through ward-based statistics, it was proved that our people abided by our directives,” said Abdul Hameed. In the Assembly elections held 11 months ago, the UDF winning margin in all the seven constituencies in Malappuram was 1.18 lakh. But now, it has risen to 1.71 lakh which is a morale booster for the UDF camp.