Though he has been the butt of jokes of his detractors, particularly in the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), for the past three months, businessman and Nilambur MLA PV Anvar has been fielded in Nilambur again by the CPI(M) for the upcoming Assembly polls.
Anvar became MLA as the Left Democratic Front (LDF) supported Independent candidate in 2016. Since then he has been at the centre of a slew of controversies pertaining to the encroachment of lands and illegal constructions.
But CPI(M) has decided to take a chance by fielding Anvar in Nilambur again.
Acting Secretary of Kerala CPI(M), A Vijayaraghavan, on Wednesday unveiled the list of party candidates for the upcoming polls.
Anvar, who had gone missing from his constituency for the past three months, lands in Karipur International Airport (Kozhikode) on Thursday morning.
Sources close to Anvar told TNM that he is travelling to India from Sierra Leone, a country on the southwest coast of West Africa, via Dubai, after a gap of two-and-a-half months. Anvar had apparently gone to Sierra Leone to set up a mining business. Anvar claimed he left India after informing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
On the eve of the announcement of his candidature, he released a 15-minute Facebook video explaining how he happened to visit Sierra Leone. He claimed that he clinched a mining deal of gold and diamonds worth Rs 20,000 crore, which he said would help create several thousand jobs for Keralites.
Anvar recalled in the video that it was during his Hajj pilgrimage in 2018 that he had an opportunity to get friendly with a business magnate with ventures in Sierra Leone and other countries. That pilgrim from Africa had stayed in the same hotel as Anvar.
The MLA said they went together to Medina during that pilgrim season and that they talked about their business ventures. At that time, Anvar said they realised his father-in-law who used to import cashews from Africa was a friend of the business magnate.
Subsequently, the businessman kept compelling him to join him in his mining business. Hence, Anvar approached his friends in Sri Lanka and sent a team to study the prospects. After all the groundwork was done he visited Sierra Leone, Anvar said.
Meanwhile, last month, Congress cadres lodged a complaint with Nilambur police stating the MLA has gone missing from the constituency. Anvar was then forced to clarify in a Facebook post, his favourite means of communication, that he left Kerala, after the local body polls, for Africa on a business visit.
Following this, Congress supporters reportedly flooded the official Facebook page of the President of the Republic of Ghana demanding the release of Anvar.
The MLA responded again, stating that he was not in jail in Ghana as claimed by his detractors. Though they may wish that they are wrong, he said. He reportedly ended the post with a one-liner from Rajinikanth-starrer Baba, â€˜Even if I come late, Iâ€™ll be the latestâ€™.
The MLA, as reported by TNM on July 31, 2020, said that he has been facing trouble ever since he won the Assembly elections from Nilambur in 2016. Last year, based on Anvar's complaint, the Pookkottumpadam police had registered a case against Congress leader Aryadan Shoukath and nine others for allegedly conspiring to murder him.
Anvar has been assailed by a slew of controversies after he became MLA. For instance, the Kozhikode district administration accused Anvar of illegal construction at the Kakkadampoyil water theme park. The Revenue Department ordered the demolition of the illegal check dam constructed for the park. Anvar approached the court, but the Kerala High Court in 2019 ordered the demolition of the check dam.
Subsequently, he accused the ministers in the LDF government of trying to destroy his business ventures.
He also accused the opposition Congress-led UDF leaders of trying to destroy him. He apparently saw as his main rival Congress leader and former minister, Aryadan Muhammed, whose son Shoukath he defeated in the 2016 Assembly polls.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, LDF fielded him in Ponnani but he lost to UDF candidate ET Muhammad Basheer.
Anvar, who hails from a family of Congress followers, began his political career as a leader of the Kerala Students Union (KSU), the student wing of the Congress. Later, he ended up in the LDF fold.
Gladwin Emmanuel is a freelance journalist based in Kerala.