Abdul Latheef Naha
Leadership trying to prevent probable leak in party vote share
MALAPPURAM: Votes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be crucial in at least four constituencies in Malappuram district, where tough fight between the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is taking place.
Candidates of both fronts in Mankada, Tirur, Perinthalmanna and Kuttippuram have fixed an eye on a portion of the BJP votes, knowing that it can be decisive. And the BJP district leadership is struggling to prevent a probable leak in the party's vote share particularly in those constituencies.
According to BJP estimates on the basis of the votes it got in the 2004 General Election, the party has nearly 1.2 lakh votes in the district. The BJP had secured 1.14 lakh votes in the last General Election, pocketing nearly 19 per cent of the votes polled.
In the 2004 General Election, which saw the rout of the UDF across the State, the BJP got 7,948 votes from Mankada, 6,762 votes from Perinthalmanna, 13,087 votes from Tirur, and 7,667 votes from Kuttippuram.
It was from Tirur Assembly constituency that the BJP got its largest share of votes in the district, followed by Tirurangadi (13,014) and Ponnani (12,657). Guarding those votes against enticement from either the UDF or the LDF has become a tough job for the party's district leadership.
"We are duty-bound to ensure that BJP votes do not go either to the UDF or LDF," said K. Janachandran, district president of the BJP. However, he agreed that the party was in a slumber in several constituencies, including Perinthalmanna, Mankada and Malappuram, where the BJP is yet to set up its organizational units.
BJP leaders admit that there had been leak in the party votes in several seats in the Assembly elections held in 1996 and 2001. The figures of BJP vote share underscore this fact.
The BJP votes in the 2001 Assembly elections had marked a fall from the previous Assembly elections (1996) in Mankada, Ponnani, Tirur, Tanur and Wandoor constituencies. The party had lost more than 5,000 votes in those constituencies together.
The BJP had got 72,810 votes in the district in 1996, and 73,783 votes in 2001. But in 2004, the party secured 1.14 lakh votes. This was a pointer to the party's poor performance in the district in Assembly elections.
Mr. Janachandran said his party was giving a tough time to the UDF and the LDF in Ponnani and Tirur, and trying hard to prevent a leak in its vote share.
Other leaders pointed out that this time the BJP had no soft corner for the UDF or the LDF because, they said, both were pampering communal organizations such as the People's Democratic Party, National Development Front and Jama'at-e-Islami.
While the NDF is working underground for the UDF, the PDP and Jama'at have announced their support for the LDF. Mr. Janachandran denied that the BJP had made an understanding with Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty in Kuttippuram.
The BJP has fielded candidates in all constituencies in the district. There are three women candidates in the BJP list. No other party has fielded a woman in the district.
The following are the BJP candidates in the district: C. Dinesh (Malappuram), Kumari Sukumaran (Mankada), M. Satidevi (Perinthalmanna), K. Prabhakaran (Nilambur), K.U. Chandran (Wandoor), A. Subramanian (Kondotty), N. Aravindan (Tirurangadi), M. Jayasankar (Tirur), M. Jayachandran (Tanur), N. Anil Kumar (Kuttippuram), and Sobha Surendran (Ponnani).