THOUGH the opposition UDF’s candidate PK Kunjalikkutty has registered a comfortable victory in the by-election to Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency, the LDF has registered a huge increase of more than one lakh votes. LDF’s candidate MB Fasal gained 1,01,303 votes more when compared to the 2014 general election. Another interesting factor is BJP could hardly get a thousand votes more than last election, even when the number of voters increased by 1,14,975. UDF could manage to gain only 77 thousand votes than last election. LDF vote share increased by 8.33 percent and UDF’s vote share increased by 4.7 percent.
Kunjalikkutty, national general secretary of Indian Union Muslim League defeated CPI(M) candidate MB Faisal in strongly fought electoral battle, by a margin of 1,71,023 votes. The election was necessitated due to the death of IUML leader E Ahmed who won in the 2016 general election with a margin of 1,94,739. The number of votes gained by major candidates are following: PK Kunjalikkutti: 5,15,330, MB Faisal: 3,44,307 and N Sriprakash (BJP): 65,675.
Malappuram, a constituency consisting of 80 percent Muslim population, witnessed huge efforts of religious polarisation throughout the campaign. The Muslim League sought the support of SDPI, and Welfare Party, both Muslim fundamentalist organisations. Both organisations had their candidates in 2016 elections and gained more than one lakh votes. Both parties helped the UDF by not putting candidates.
At the same time, BJP too continuously ran communal campaign right from the beginning. LDF had categorically declared that it will seek the secular votes and has rigorously campaigned against communal politics.