IUML strongman and sitting legislator PK Kunhalikutty has increased his lead to over 50,000 votes after more than one hour of counting at the Malappuram Lok Sabha seat in Kerala on Monday.
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.
“This is because the electorate have placed faith in me as I spoke about the need for a secular outlook. Also the unity of the Congress-led-UDF has helped us in this,” said Kunhalikutty.
The total turnout at Malappuram by-election on April 12, was 71.33 per cent.
In second place was Communist Party of India-Marxist’s local body member and youth leader M.B. Faisal, while the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate N. Sreeprakash was a distant third.
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The re-poll was necessitated after the death of sitting MP and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader E. Ahamed.
Malappuram district is the citadel of the IUML and Ahamed won the 2014 polls with a record margin of 1.94 lakh votes.
But during the 2016 assembly elections, the margin of the IUML legislators, who won in all the seven assembly constituencies, came down to 1.18 lakh votes.
After two rounds of counting, Kunhalikutty was leading in all the seven assembly constituencies.
The outcome of the poll could well be the first indicator on how well the 10-month-old Pinarayi Vijayan government has functioned.