The bye-election in Malappuram Loksabha constituency in Kerala is significant as it will test the ground support that the three major political parties have gained almost a year after the Assembly polls in May 2016.
The bye-poll in the northern district of the state was necessitated after the death of the incumbent MP, and IUML leader E Ahamed on February 1. The direct fight in the constituency is between the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate P K Kunhalikutty and Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate M B Faisal. Kunhalikutty is currently the legislator representing the Vengara constituency; therefore if the mandate is in his favour, it would pave way for another by-election in the state- to elect the new MLA for Vengara.
Kunhalikutty, a long term legislator and Former Industries minister was picked by his party not just for his seniority, but as someone who could take over the space left vacant by E Ahamedâ€™s demise in national politics. IUML is the second largest party in the UDF after the Congress. Faisal, a young face, was a surprise choice by the CPI (M) which heads the ruling LDF. He is the district president of the DYFI and a member of the Malappuram district Panchayat. The BJP has fielded advocate N Sreeprakash who created buzz in the media with his comment that if elected, he would make sure good beef was made available.
A total of nine candidates are battling it out in Malappuram. The Muslim community is the decisive force in the constituency. They stood with the LDF in the 2016 Assembly elections. Smaller parties that mainly work with minority communities like Social Democratic Party of India, Welfare Party, Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party are not contesting this election. SDPI and Welfare Party contested in the 2014 elections and won 47,853 votes and 29,216 votes respectively. The constituency is a fortress for the IUML and many believe that it would be a cakewalk for Kunhalikutty. CPI (M) leaders like VS Achuthanandan and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan however have said that the verdict would be an assessment of the functioning of the state government.
Ahamed, an IUML veteran, the partyâ€™s face in New Delhi and former union minister, got a thumping majority of 1,94,739 votes in 2014. He defeated PK Sainaba of the CPI (M) in the last Lok Sabha election. But in the 2016 Assembly elections, the UDFâ€™s vote share, across all Assembly constituencies of Malappuram, was reduced to 1,18,684. LDF won 3,11,473 votes in 2009 general elections, in 2014 they could win only 2,42,775 votes, and in 2016 general elections the LDF won 3,73,881 votes.
The Malappuram constituency was created in 2008 after the delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies. As Malappuarm was born, Manjeri constituency vanished. The constituency covers the entire district of Malappuram. According to Election Commission of Indiaâ€™s 2009 data, the total electorate in the Malappuram Parliamentary constituency is 10,19,713 of which 517,937 are females and 501,776 are males. With a population as large as 16,98,465 and area spanning 3,000 square kilometers, the district of Malappuram is the fourth largest urban centre in Kerala. Kondotty, Mankada, Vallikkunnu, Manjeri, Malappuram, Perinthalmanna and Vengara are the Assembly constituencies under it.
CPI (M) Adv M B Faisal
P K Kunhalikutty IUML
BJP Adv N Sreeprakash
Adv PPA Sageer, Kunhalikutty Kulambil Padinharekara, Muhammed Musliyar N,
Muhammed Faisal, A K Shaji and K Shajimon.
Number of new voters in the Assembly constituencies
Vengara ; 14,731
Kondoti: 18, 126
Vallikkunn 15, 966
Increase in the number of voters as per March 23 2017
Vengara Female 81, 541, Male 86,934 Total 168,475
Vallikkunn female 90, 336 Male 92, 098, total 182, 434
Kondoti Female 93, 404, Male 94, 935, Total 188, 339
Manjeri Female 96, 326, Male 94,115 Total 190, 441
Mankada Female 98, 620, Male 95, 291, Total 193,911
Perinthalmanna Female 99, 649, Male 94, 309 Total 193, 958
Malappuram Female 96, 544, Male 98, 591 Total 195, 135
Total: 1,312693 Female 656, 420, Male 656,273.