LDF’s K.P. Mustafa, a League dissident, may give shudders to the party
The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is facing one of the toughest challenges in Perinthalmanna.
A young businessman and former Malappuram Municipal Chairman K.P. Mustafa is the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in Perinthalmanna. A former Muslim League member, Mr. Mustafa’s candidature may give shudders to the IUML.
Meanwhile, the IUML has fielded Muslim Youth League (MYL) State vice president Najeeb Kanthapuram to take on Mr. Mustafa, who switched sides reportedly after being denied seat by the IUML. The CPI(M) has fielded him ignoring party considerations with the sole objective of wresting Perinthalmanna from the IUML.
In 2016, the IUML’s incumbent Manjalamkuzhi Ali had narrowly defeated the CPI(M)’s V. Sasikumar. Mr. Ali’s victory margin was 579 votes. For Mr. Sasikumar, the CPI(M)’s one-time MLA (2006) and a popular leader in the region, Perinthalmanna was a slip between the cup and the lip.
Mr. Ali’s margin of victory in 2011 was 9,589. The slump from that comfortable figure to just 579 in five years was a matter of serious concern for the IUML. Until 2011, Mr. Ali had been with the LDF, winning the neighbouring Mankada seat in 2001 and 2006. The IUML and its rivals were aware that had not it been for Mr. Ali, Perinthalmanna would have remained in Mr. Sasikumar’s hands.
But sensing the attrition in the IUML vote bank in Perinthalmanna, due largely to internal rivalry, Mr. Ali shifted back to Mankada this time. With Mr. Ali moving to Mankada, the IUML brought in Mr. Najeeb, an outsider, hoping to unify the warring groups. The UDF has fresh hopes in Mr. Najeeb, a fresher from Kozhikode district.
Mr. Mustafa’s candidature has given heartburns to some loyal party leaders of Perinthalmanna. But the party is hopeful of repeating a ‘Manjalamkuzhi act’ by using Mr. Mustafa’s deep pocket to make inroads into the UDF vote bank.
Hopes are high for both the fronts. For the winner, it will never be a cakewalk. Realising this, both have begun campaigning in earnest in Perinthalmanna, which is made up of Perinthalmanna Municipality and the panchayats of Melattur, Vettathur, Thazhekode, Aliparamba, Pulamanthol,
While the LDF is ruling Perinthalmanna, Thazhekode, and Pulamanthol, the UDF has majority in Vettathur, Aliparamba, and Elamkulam. It was a tie in Melattur.