There’s been a drop in polling percentages in most of the Assembly segments in the traditional Muslim fortresses of Malappuram district, in contradiction to the uptrend across the state.
When compared with the Lok Sabha elections, vote tallies in 11 out of 16 Assembly constituencies in Malappuram have dropped.
This, when the Indian Union Muslim League, the major partner of the Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front, claims it will win 14 seats in the district.
There has been a steep drop of 8.89 per cent in Tirurangadi, where the sitting MLA, Mr P.K. Abdu Rabb, takes on the CPI’s Mr K.K. Samad.
In Vengara, where the IUML general secretary, Mr P.K. Kunhalikutty, seeks to avenge his defeat in the last polls, the drop is 3.07 per cent.
The other seats and the drop in percentages are as follows: Kondotty 4.80, Vandoor 1.17, Manjeri 7.48, Mankada 1.71, Malappuram 6.16, Vallikkunnu 1.83, Tanur 2.55, Tirur 5.65 and Kottackal 8.07.
But in Nilambur, Ernanad, Perinthalamanna, Tavanur and Ponnani, there has been a spike in the polling percentage. Nilambur, where sitting Congress MLA, Mr Aryadan Mohammed, had won seven times, recorded an increase of 5.52 per cent.
The overall vote drop in the League pockets poses the question whether the chief minister, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan’s high-pitched campaign against Mr Kunhalikutty, has influenced the voters either to vote against the League or keep away.
But the former minister, Mr Kutty Ahmed Kutty, attributes the drop to the weak competition offered by the IUML’s rival candidates.
Stiff competition would raise the polling figures as in Kozhikode South where League secretary, Dr M.K. Muneer, fought a bitter battle. The increase in polling has been 6.51 percent.
“We’ve ensured our votes were polled,” said Mr Kutty. “But we can’t say whether our principal rivals played their part in mobilising voters.” There’s some logic in this because in nine seats, the League rivals were CPI nominees, CPI(M)-backed independents or candidates of junior Left allies.
Even in Vengara, the CPM fielded Mr K.P. Ismail, the nominee of the INL, weakened by the recent split in the party. Asian Age