MALAPPURAM: In the battle of ballots, Malappuram presents a unique picture. Many a time, opponents have failed to scale the formidable fortress of the IUML, be it Assembly, Lok Sabha polls or civic polls. Only once could the Left Front beat its opponent IUML in a constituency considered to be the latter’s stronghold. The only political upset occurred in 2004 when CPM’s T K Hamza defeated K P A Majeed of the IUML by a margin of around 48,000 votes. However, the League wrested the seat in 2009 by a thumping margin of over 1 lakh votes.
The earlier name of the constituency was Manjeri. After the delimitation of the constituency in 2009, it became Malappuram. The additions and subtractions of Assembly constituencies had resulted in cementing the Muslim League’s invincibility. After delimitation, Left strongholds Kunnamangalam and Beypore went to Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency. Nilambur, a Congress stronghold, went to Wayanad. Perinthalmanna and Mankada were added to Malappuram.
League heavyweights like founder president Muhammad Ismail, Ibrahim Sulaiman Sait, E Ahamed and P K Kunhalikutty have contested from the constituency, considered as a League’s sure seat. Of late, the Left has been fielding Independent candidates to woo voters. But the experiments failed miserably. In 2014, a woman candidate, P K Sainaba, had contested for the CPM. But, E Ahamed won.
A byelection was held in 2017 following the demise of Ahamed. The CPM lost the bypoll but increased its vote share by over 8 per cent. The margin of P K Kunhalikutty, who won the byelection, was 1.71 lakh.
Victory margin of League Candidates
1998: E Ahamed of IUML defeats K V Salahuddin of the CPM by 1,06,009 votes
1996: E Ahamed of Muslim League defeats C H Ashiq of the CPM by 54,971 votes
1991: E Ahamed of Muslim League defeats V Venugopal, an Independent, by 89,323 votes.
1989: Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait of Muslim League defeats K V Salahuddhin, an Independent, by 70,282 votes
1984: Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait of Muslim League defeats E K Imbichi Bava of the CPM by 71,175 votes
1980: Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait of Muslim League defeats K Moideenkutty Haji of Indian Muslim League by 34,581 votes
1977: Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait of Muslim League defeats B M Hussain of Muslim League (Opposition) by 97,201 votes.
GAIL and NH
The recent statements from the LDF branding people of Malappuram as troublemakers and the tough stand it took on agitators against the GAIL pipeline project and the NH widening may affect the prospects of its candidate in the coming election. In the case of the Muslim League, the rivals are likely to raise Kunhalikutty’s absence in the crucial voting on Triple Talaq Bill in the Lok Sabha.
INL entry into LDF
The entry of Indian National League (INL) into the LDF fold will strengthen the front to a considerable extent.