Compared to the 2014 Loksabha elections the UDF gained 3.8 per cent, LDF gained 8.34 per cent and BJP-led NDA lost 0.5 per cent in vote share.

Despite promises of good beef BJP vote share drops in Malappuram bye-elections
news Malappuram Polls Monday, April 17, 2017 - 20:49

Even promises of quality beef for his voters by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate N Sreeprakash could not turn things around for the party in Kerala’s Malappuram’s bye-election. BJP’s hope of beginning a golden period by forming a government in states like Odisha, Bengal, Kerala, Tripura and Telangana will have to wait, as the verdict of the Malappuram Lok Sabha bye-election has shown a reduction in the party’s vote share compared to the 2014 and 2016 Loksabha elections.

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the largest ally of the Congress in Kerala, has retained the Malappuram parliament seat, winning the bye-election by a big margin of 1.7 lakh votes. The BJP came out a distant third with a decline in vote share from 7.42 per cent to 7.01 per cent from that of the 2016 Assembly elections. PK Kunhalikutty, the IUML's winning candidate secured 5,15,325 votes, while the LDF’s MB Faisal came second with 3,44,287 votes. The BJP trailed far behind with just 65,662 votes. The BJP had hoped to increase the number of votes to about 1 lakh from 64,705 three years ago, but ended up with an increase of only 964 votes and a fall in vote share.

Compared to the 2016 Assembly elections UDF gained five per cent, LDF lost one per cent and the BJP-led NDA lost about 0.5 per cent. And compared to the 2014 Loksabha elections the UDF gained 3.8 per cent, NDA lost 0.5 per cent and LDF gained 8.34 per cent in vote share. In the 2014 elections, the IUML vote share was 51.29 per cent, while the CPI (M) claimed 28.47 per cent and the BJP 7.58 per cent. Political critic Jayasankar said that it does not come as a surprise that the right wing party was not able to improve its vote share. “In 2014 elections there was a Modi wave. But the political climate has changed now. Even otherwise, however hard the BJP works, they won’t ever become a decisive factor in a constituency like Malappuram which is a Muslim-dominated constituency,” he said.

Jayashankar said that like the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  and Welfare party, the BJP should have abstained from the elections. “The core vote of BJP in the constituency is 20,000 votes which can fluctuate due to change in political climate. But won’t ever go up beyond a point. Also by-election is not the same as a general election, in which the verdict can’t be viewed as assessment of political equations,” Jayashankar said.

Social worker and political analyst, Hameed Chennamangaloor, said that the BJP couldn’t make any impact in the by-election, they couldn’t add even 10,000 votes to the existing vote share. However he believes that that their performance in this the election can’t be seen as a reflection of the electorate of the entire state. “Malappuram is a fortress of the IUML. The Muslim community there is so conventional that AP Abubacker faction of the Sunni Muslims, which normally support the Left, didn’t vote CPI (M)’s candidate in 2014, solely because she was a woman. The LDF had won only once there -- in 2004. The BJP candidate, on the other hand, doesn’t have the influence to resist the adverse factors.”  


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