KOZHIKODE: After much dithering, the LDF has handpicked P V Anvar, a Left-backed independent MLA from Nilambur, to take on the Indian Union Muslim League juggernaut in its turf Ponnani. Anvar’s opponent is two time MP E T Mohammad Basheer, who has emerged a key figure in national politics. The David v/s Goliath fight in Ponnani is sure to be one of the keenly-watched contests in the Malabar region.
Anvar was in news recently after major violations were detected in connection with the functioning of his hill-top water theme park which was eventually shut down. The episode had caused major embarrassment for the ruling front which had to literally sweat it out while defending him. So how does Anvar, despite the taint, become so valuable for the Left in its bid to wrest Ponnani? It’s a clear case of choosing winnability over propriety, say analysts.
UDF allies Congress and the League have not been enjoying a cordial relationship in Ponnani of late. The Left knows that Anvar, a former Congress leader, is the best bet to exploit the League-Congress chasm and make considerable gains from rival territory. That’s why all other names suggested by the local leadership were sidelined in favour of Anvar.
Besides, the Nilambur MLA has a well-oiled machinery - both in terms of money and manpower - and the CPM knows its cadres needn’t worry much in that department during the campaign. “The Congress leaders of the constituency are backing me and so are many League workers. More and more people sidelined by both parties will join our ranks. Even after allegations were raised against me, we were able to wrest two panchayats for the Left front under my leadership,” said Anvar.
The Nilambur MLA is expected to also get the backing of local honchos such as V Abdurahiman who has considerable sway over Tanur as its legislator. Gafoor P Lillis of Tirur and Niyas Pulikalakath of Tirurangadi may also throw their weight behind Anvar.
The duo had fought against League heavyweights in the 2016 state polls but lost by a whisker. Incidentally, Niyas was also being considered by the Left as a probable candidate from Ponnani this time.
Meanwhile, League heavyweight Basheer seems unfazed. “The reports of issues between Congress and League in Ponnani is purely propaganda. I am thankful to the party for offering me a third stint and I am very confident of winning,” the veteran leader said.