Malappuram: A closely contested assembly election in Kerala has not diminished the importance of the byelection in the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency. Muslim League national senior vice president M P Abdussamad Samadani trying to guard the seat vacated by fellow party leader P K Kunhalikutty, while the Left Democratic Front has fielded SFI national president V P Sanu to take on him. The National Democratic Alliance has put up BJP national vice president A P Abdullakutty.
Malappuram has always remained a bastion of the Muslim League. E Ahmed was elected to the Lok Sabha from the constituency in 2014 by a margin of 1,94,379 votes. When his demise necessitated a byelection, Kunhalikutty stepped in to win the seat by 1,71,023 votes. He increased his lead to 2,60,153 votes in the general election of 2019.
The United Democratic Front of the Muslim League and the Congress remained clear victors in the assembly election of 2016 and the local body elections of 2020. The UDF led by 1,18,696 votes in the assembly segments corresponding to the Lok Sabha seat in the 2016 election and by 1,13,987 votes in 2020 local body elections.
The UDF has centred its campaign on the need to protest the anti-people, anti-farmer and anti-minority policies of the central government led by the BJP. They highlight Samadani's credentials as a polyglot orator with a secular insight and his track record as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
The LDF seeks to remind the electors that the election was imposed on them by Kunhalikutty who quit as the Member of Parliament to contest to the state assembly. V P Sanu is a familiar face in the constituency, where he fought Kunhalikutty last time. His campaign asks the people to correct the verdict of 2019 to usher in development to the constituency.
Even the NDA is trying to rub it in when it comes to Kunhalikutty’s resignation. Abdullakutty wants to project the Narendra Modi government’s development agenda and Malappuram’s potential as a football-crazy place.
The candidate list also includes SDPI national general secretary Taslim Rahmani and independents Yunus Salim and Sayyid Sadiq Ali.
Electors in the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency are faced with the task of choosing their MP and MLAs. All political formations had combined the campaigns of the Lok Sabha candidate and the respective assembly candidates in the seven segments that fall within the constituency.