IUML strongman and sitting legislator PK Kunhalikutty has won the Malappuram bypolls by 1.7 lakh votes. With 12 percent of the votes counted, Kunhalikutty was leading with over 50,000 votes as counting began at 8 a.m. here. Meanwhile, Kunhalikutty came out of his home as jubilant supporters shouting slogans lifted him up. Speaking to the media as supporters egged him, Kunhalikutty said they have led in village councils where the Left is ruling.
Kunhalikutty, who defeated his nearest rival M B Faisal (CPI-M), won from all the seven assembly constituencies of Kondotty, Manjeri, Perinthalamann, Mankada, Malappuram, Vengara and Vallikkunnu by over 1,71,000 votes. BJP candidate N Sreeprakash came third. The by poll was necessitated following the demise of E Ahamed, a former Union Minister and leader of IUML, a key partner in the Congress-led UDF Opposition in the state. A former minister, Kunhalikutty is a member of the state assembly from Vengara constituency.
This is his maiden foray to Parliament. The Election Office said that final declaration would be made after getting necessary clearance from the Chief Election Commissioner. The Muslim-dominated Malappuram is considered a bastion of IUML. A total of 71.33 per cent voters had exercised their franchise in the by poll against the 71.11 per cent recorded in the previous election here.
Of the total 13,12,693 electorate, 9,36,315 people including 4,93,433 women exercised their franchise. In the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Ahamed had won the seat by a margin of 1,94,739 votes against CPI(M)’s P K Sainaba.