Muslim League retains Malappuram bypoll in Kerala with over 1.7 lakh votes | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Muslim League retains Malappuram bypoll in Kerala with over 1.7 lakh votes

Inidan Union Muslim League (IUML) strongman PK Kunhalikutty, a former minister, won the Malappuram bypoll in Kerala on Monday by 171,038 lakh votes.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2017 18:14 IST
Ramesh Babu
Muslim League’s PK Kunhalikutty on campaign trail.
Muslim League’s PK Kunhalikutty on campaign trail. (HT File Photo)

Inidan Union Muslim League (IUML) strongman PK Kunhalikutty, a former minister, won the Malappuram bypoll in Kerala on Monday by 171,038 lakh votes.

He defeated the CPI(M)’s MB Faizal by an emphatic margin but failed to cross E Ahamad mammoth margin of 1,94,000 votes in 2104. The bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting MP and IUML leader Ahamed.

The Bharatiya Janata Party candidate N Sreeprakash came a distant third garnering 65,662 votes. United Democratic Front (UDF) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) had criticised the saffron party vehemently over beef ban and cow vigilantism during their month-long campaign

Earlier Kunhalikutty came out of his home as jubilant supporters shouted slogans and lifted him up.

“It is a victory of secular forces. In the present political climate this victory assumes much significance,” said Kunhalikutty, adding that he will work hard to float a platform of all secular forces.

The outcome of the poll could well be the first indicator on how well the 10-month-old Pinarayi Vijayan government has functioned. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had said the bypoll will be a referendum on the government.

“League played a dirty game to polarise votes on communal lines,” said defeated candidate MB Faizal, adding that it was not a political victory. In Malappuram, Muslims comprise 65%, 30% Hindus and 5% Christians.

A seasoned politician Kunhalikutty (66) is known as the main trouble shooter of the Congress-led UDF. When the Congress and Muslim League ties vitiated on a number of occasions, including the post-Babri Masjid period, he played a crucial role in ironing out wrinkles and kept the secular face of the League intact. He became an MLA in 1982 and was inducted into K Karunakaran cabinet at a young age in 1991. Later, he joined AK Antony and Oommen Chandy governments.