The counting for Malappuram Lok Sabha bypolls in Kerala began today. The counting began at 8.00 am. As per early reports, Congress-led-UDF candidate P K Kunhalikutty leading by more than 3000 votes. About 71 per cent voting was recorded in the April 12 bypoll for Malappuram Lok Sabha seat in Kerala with the exercise passing off peacefully. According to the polling officials, about 71 per cent polling was recorded in the constituency with around 13 lakh electorate. The bypoll was necessitated following the demise of former Union Minister and IUML leader E Ahamed. Congress-led UDF candidate P K Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League, CPI-Ms M B Faisal of ruling LDF and BJP nominee N Sreeprakash were the main contestants in the fray.
Six independents were also trying their luck in Muslim dominated constituency. Brisk polling was reported from the constituency since morning. There were some incidents of EVM malfunctioning which was immediately rectified by the officials.
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More than 1,100 polling stations were set up in the constituency, which has seven assembly constituencies and a total electorate of 13,12,693.
The high-voltage campaign had seen heated debates on beef versus development. The UDF had launched a do-or-die battle to retain its stronghold, while the ruling LDF is hoping for an upset win.
Seeking to put the UDF camp on the back-foot, the LDF had claimed some senior Congress MPs from Kerala were likely to crossover to the BJP bandwagon.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Ahamed had won the seat by a margin of 1,94,739 votes against CPI(M)s P K Sainaba.
(With agency inputs)