Malappuram bypoll: UDF's PK Kunhalikutty wins by margin of over 1.7 lakh votes – Times of India

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MALAPPURAM: Re-establishing its supremacy in the traditional stronghold, the Congress-led UDF registered a shining victory in the by-election to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) candidate PK Kunhalikutty defeated the CPM-led LDF’s M B Faisal by a huge margin of 1,71,038 votes. While Kunhalikkutty won 5,15,325 votes, MB Faisal managed to secure only 3,44,287 votes. BJP candidate N Sreeprakash has got 65,662 votes.

In previous election UDF’s E Ahamed defeated LDF’s PK Sainaba for huge margin of 1.9 lakh votes. When E Ahamed secured 4,37,723 votes, P K Sainaba of LDF secured 2,42,984 votes in previous election.

The UDF candidate managed to maintain a steady lead in all assembly segments of the LS constituency after the counting process began at 8am. The LDF has failed to maintain the lead even in Mankada and Perinthalmanna assembly constituencies which are strong holds of CPM. But LDF has a sigh of relief that the margin of the victory of UDF candidate has been decreased by around 23,000. It is to be noted that LDF’s candidate has increased the number of votes by more than 1 lakh.

During the campaign BJP had claimed that it would increase the vote share this time to more than 1 lakh from its earlier figures of 64,705 votes. In previous assembly election BJP candidate secured more than 70,000 votes in the seven assembly segments of the LS constituency. But, the party has failed to impress the voters in its strong holds such as Vallikkunnu.

With six Independents and three party candidates, a total of nine persons were in the fray for the election necessitated after the sudden demise of Muslim League leader E Ahamed who was representing the constituency.

PK Kunhalikkutty, the national general secretary of (IUML), served as minister in state five times and he is currently member of assembly representing Vengara constituency in the district. It is first time that he is contesting in a Lok Sabha poll. Entering into politics through Muslim Student Federation (MSF), the student wing of IUML, Kunhalikutty became chairman of Malappuram municipality in 1980. In 1982 and 1987 he elected as MLA from Malappuram constituency and in 1991, 1996 and 2001 he was elected from Kuttipuram assembly constituency. He was defeated by K T Jaleel in Kuttippuram in 2006. But he won Vengara assembly constituency in 2011 and 2016. He served as minister for various portfolios including Industries, IT and social welfare.

Apart from the developmental issues of the constituency, many controversial topics such as beef ban, police action against Jishnu’s mother etc were also major campaign topics of the byelection held on April 12. The decision of SDPI and Welfare Party of India (WPI) which won around 70000 votes together in previous election, not to field candidate this time made the vote share of parties unpredictable.

The UDF workers in the constituency have started celebrating by distributing sweets and organising vehicle rallies across the constituency. The constituency had witnessed a huge voter turnout of 71.33 per cent, which is a small surge from the previous Lok Sabha poll in the constituency.

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