Malappuram: With just a day to go for the campaign to end for the Vengara Assembly by-poll, the Left Democratic Front is sniffing an opportunity to significantly cut the margin of victory.
The Vengara by-poll was necessitated by the election of P.K. Kunhalikutty to the Malapappuram Lok Sabha seat.
Kunhalikutty, who represented the constituency twice, had a victory margin of 38,057.
But the surprise choice of K.N.A Khader as the Indian Union Muslim League candidate has brought about some bad blood.
At first, the name that did the rounds as the IUML candidate was K.P A. Majeed. Later the tide turned in favor of U.A. Latheef, a confidant of Kunhalikutty.
But in a 'last-minute trick,' as CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told Onmanorama, Khader was named UDF candidate. And the resultant resentment in the IUML is what the CPM is looking to tap to cut the huge margin of Kunhalikutty.
The CPM says Kunhalikutty and IUML have thrust an unwarranted election to the voters. They also point out to the lack of development in the constituency.
“There is not even an industrial unit which can provide job opportunities to at least 10 people. Kunhalikutty was the industry minister,” Kodiyeri told Onmanorama during an interaction.
Watch this space, for an exclusive interview with Kodiyeri
Khader is banking on the traditional IUML votes. “There is no resentment in the IUML,” Khader told Onmanorama.
“The CPM has to bring in cadres from other districts to campaign here as the district is an IUML and UDF stronghold,” Khader said.
For an interview with K.N.A. Khader, watch this space
But the CPM is also keen to tap the NRI voters by harping on the recent visit of Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi of Sharjah and the subsequent release of prisoners from the emirates following discussions with Kerala CM Pinarayi.
This would have a positive impact on the electorate of Vengara, which has 18,862 Non Resident Indian (NRI) voters.
Vengara's 148 polling booths have on an average 90-150 NRIs, as per the CPM's calculations.
The CPM is also confident that the recent visit of Uttar Pradesh chief ministerYogi Adityanath would have a negative impact and minorities would rally behind the party.
The IUML has failed to take the Hindutva forces head on and hence, consolidation of minority votes would be beneficial to the CPM, according to party managers.
It seems Khader has an uphill task ahead to keep the margin of victory intact.
The CPM is also fielding its star campaigner V.S. Achuthanandan later on Sunday. The Jana Raksha Yatra of the BJP would hit Malappuram Sunday and Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis would accompany the yatra led by party state president Kummanam Rajasekharan in Vengara.