IUML's KM Shaji wants to contest from Kasaragod, section of party unhappy

As per reports, Shaji has informed IUML leadership that he was not interested in contesting from his sitting seat Azhikode.
KM Shaji
KM Shaji
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A faction of Indian Union of Muslim League (IUML) is reportedly upset over reports that Azhikode MLA KM Shaji would be the United Democratic Front candidate for Kasaragod constituency, a seat that the IUML has held for many years. Many reports said that KM Shaji did not want to contest from Azhikode in the upcoming Kerala assembly elections. These reports said that he preferred Kasaragod constituency which is almost a confirmed seat for the IUML.

As per reports, Shaji had informed the IUML leadership that he was not interested in contesting from Azhikode. He expressed his interest in Kannur or Kasaragod constituencies instead.

"There are potential leaders here in Kasaragod itself. Why should an outsider come here to contest? We hope that the party will not take such a decision. This is media speculation, right? T Abdulla IUML district president or sitting MLA NA Nellikkunnu is acceptable for us," an IUML worker from Kasaragod told TNM.

In 2016, KM Shaji won from Azhikode constituency by a margin of 2287 votes. He had defeated senior journalist MV Nikesh Kumar then. However in 2011, his winning margin was just 493 votes. As per reports, the IUML MLA wanted a different constituency which is a sure seat for the UDF as he has faced accusations of accepting bribery and acquiring illegal wealth.

He has been accused of receiving Rs 25 lakh as a bribe in 2014 to sanction Plus Two batches at a school in Azhikode. A case was filed with the vigilance and anti-corruption bureau (VACB). He was also accused of misusing his post to get funds from abroad. However, IUML had alleged that these accusations were part of a political vendetta by LDF.

Till 2006 Azhikode constituency was a Communist Party of India (Marxist) stronghold. From 1977 to 2006, the Left won in the constituency, except in 1987. It was Shaji who broke that tradition in 2011 by defeating CPI(M)'s Prakashan Master.  

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