After stepping down as the LDF candidate from Koduvally in Kozhikode, former Municipal Councillor Karat Faizal won as an independent from the same seat. The results of the Kerala local body polls announced on Wednesday saw Faizal secure 568 votes and win from the Choondpuram ward of Division 15 in Koduvally where he contested.
His victory comes after he had to step down as the LDF candidate in the ward, after being taken into custody in connection with the Kerala gold smuggling case. Following this, he decided to contest as an independent in the ward. In October 2020, Faizal, who had landed in controversy with the gold smuggling case, was taken into custody by the Customs department. A month later, in November, he was named as the LDF candidate from the Choondupuram ward of Division 15 in Koduvally. National Secular Conference leader and MLA PTA Rahim, who is the LDF-backed candidate from Kunnamangalam, announced Faizalâ€™s candidature along with that of the others.
However, due to pressure from the opposition and within the party, Faizal was asked to give up his candidacy within two days.
The CPI(M) then nominated Abdul Rashid, a candidate from the Indian National League (INL) as the LDF-backed independent to replace Faizal. However, Abdul Rashid has secured zero votes in the ward according to the data released on Wednesday. Faizal who secured 568 votes is followed by IUML (Indian Union Muslim League) candidate KKA Kadar who secured 495 votes. An independent candidate K Faisal secured 7 votes from the ward.
According to sources in Koduvally, despite stepping down as the LDF-backed candidate, Karat Faizal enjoyed the support of the front and CPI(M). In November when the CPI(M) had reportedly asked Faizal to withdraw from contesting as an LDF-backed candidate, the local party leaders in Kozhikode had distanced themselves from the news. Kozhikode CPI(M) Secretary P Mohanan said that the CPI(M)â€™s district unit had no role to play in Faizalâ€™s decision to step down as an LDF candidate.
Karat Faizal is an important leader of the National Secular Conference - a party formed by MLA PTA Rahim, a breakaway of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML).
He was taken into custody by the Customs which alleged that Faizal was an important player in the gold smuggling case. He was later taken to the Customs Kochi office for interrogation. According to local reports published in October which quoted Customs officials, Faizal was allegedly involved in selling the first consignment of smuggled gold which landed in Thiruvananthapuram airport.
Faizal being taken into custody kicked up a storm in the political circles as had pictures with several Left leaders on his social media profiles and was a LDF-backed candidate. He was earlier arrested in 2015 in connection with another gold smuggling case in Kerala.