That Thanur was a Muslim League bastion was a given until the 2016 assembly election. The switch of the assembly constituency towards the CMP-led Left Democratic Front sent shockwaves through the opposition United Democratic Front. Winning back the seat is as important for the Muslim League as it is for the CPM to defend it. None of them is taking any chances.
The Muslim League had represented the coastal constituency in the Malappuram district for half a century since C H Muhammed Koya was elected in the first election in Kerala in 1957. Koya was succeeded by influential leaders such as U A Beeran, E Ahmed, P Seethi Haji and more recently P K Abdu Rabb. All of them were elected by a margin above 20,000 votes, until 2011, when the first sign of change appeared.
The Muslim League still retained the seat but its lead dipped below 9,000 votes. Five years later, the party lost its monopoly in the seat. Abdu Rahman Randathani, seeking a third term from Thanur, was rejected in favour of V Abdu Rahman, a former Congress veteran who then fought for the LDF.
The Muslim League has sought all ways to overcome the “red alert” of 2016. It found an energetic candidate in Muslim Youth League state general secretary P K Firoz. The LDF has fielded Abdu Rahman yet again. BJP state committee member K Narayanan represents the National Democratic Alliance in Thanur.
Any poll forecast in Thanur is made complex by the volatility seen in the previous two elections. Abdu Rahman had a lead of 4,918 votes in 2016, but the LDF trailed by 19,510 votes in last year’s local body elections in areas that correspond to the assembly segment. Abdu Rahman is confident of a second victory. He said that the developmental activities in the constituency and his personal connections would translate to another victory.
His challenger Firoz is trying to poke at his claims, highlighting the ignored parts of the manifesto from five years earlier.
The BJP wants to increase its vote tally from 11,051 votes. The arena is crowded with 10 candidates including five persons apparently picked for the resemblance of their names to the major candidates.