Updated: March 8, 2021 7:58:46 pm
The BJP on Monday named AP Abdullakutty, national vice-president of the party, as it’s official candidate in the bye-election to the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala.
The constituency fell vacant after it’s sitting MP P K Kunhalikutty of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) resigned from Lok Sabha in a bid to contest the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. The LS bye-election in Malappuram is scheduled to take place on April 6, the same day Kerala votes to form it’s next government.
This is the first time Abdullakutty will be in the electoral fray for the BJP since his entry into the party in 2019. He was promoted as the national vice-president of the party in September, 2020 and is seen as it’s most prominent Muslim face in Kerala.
Abdullakutty, who hails from Kannur, was a two-time CPM MP representing the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency between 1999 and 2009. He was also the state president of the SFI, the student wing of the CPM. However, after his public praise of then chief minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi, he was expelled from the CPM in 2009.
Subsequently, he joined the Congress and went on to be elected to the Kerala Assembly from Kannur for two terms between 2009 and 2016. In the 2016 elections, he got the Congress ticket from Thalassery, but lost the election to CPM’s AN Shamseer.
In May 2019, he once again heaped praise on Modi and credited the latter’s victory to developmental programmes like Ujwala Yojana. Feeling sidelined in the Congress, he left the party to join the BJP.
Meanwhile, the CPM is likely to name VP Sanu, the national president of the SFI, as it’s candidate in Malappuram bye-election. A source close to Sanu confirmed the news and said a formal announcement will be made by the party on March 10. The party is likely to declare it’s candidates for the Assembly election the same day. Last-minute discussions on certain seats are progressing in Thiruvananthapuram.
In the 2019 election, Sanu had lost to Kunhalikutty in Malappuram, considered the bastion of the IUML, by a huge margin of 2.6 lakh votes.
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