KOCHI: The Indian Union Muslim League’s search for a new candidate with a clean track record in the Kalamassery constituency to replace sitting MLA VK Ebrahim Kunju has triggered speculation that Mohammed Shah, president of Kerala Lawyers Forum, may be fielded by the party in the constituency.
Though Kunju wants to contest again, IUML top brass may not want to take a chance, given the corruption allegations surrounding the Palarivattom flyover.
“Ebrahim Kunju’s candidature will be used by the LDF not just in Kalamassery but across the state in its election campaign,” said a source, adding this may force the party to look for a new name, who has goodwill among the Congress cadre too.This is very crucial in a constituency like Kalamassery which has a large number of Congress voters.
Mohammed Shah, a native of Erumeli in Kottayam, is an active lawyer at the Kerala High Court and not a politician. “He is a professional and will have acceptability among all sections of the voters,” the source pointed out. Shah’s father Abdul Salam Haji is the IUML state vice-president. Mohammed Shah also has a close association with Congress leaders including Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala. “His legal help was sought by the Congress in various important cases.”
Though Shah’s candidature will bring a whiff of fresh air to the Kalamassery constituency, Kunju is yet to give up on his claim to contest again. There are two things that League will keep in mind. “On the one hand, UDF may lose its moral high ground if Kunju is fielded as a candidate and, on the other, Kunju has the money power which may also count in the final reckoning,” said the source.
Sources also pointed out that Kunju had got a certificate from the medical board showing that he was suffering from multiple myeloma (cancer) and that he needed further medical care. When the vigilance sought the custody of the MLA, the board said Kunju’s immunity was weak. “This is also another disadvantage for Kunju as he has said in the court that his health condition is not good,” another source said.
Though a section of the League wants T A Ahammed Kabeer, its MLA from Mankada, to contest from Kalamassery, sources said he would prefer to contest from the sitting seat, which is a far safer constituency. If push comes to shove, Kunju may nominate his son V E Abdul Gafoor to contest from Kalamassery. Gafoor is now IUML Ernakulam district general secretary. But it remains to be seen how the party will react to such a claim.