Lok Sabha Election 2019

In Ponnani, an Independent takes on a veteran

No-holds-barred battle in Indian Union Muslim League bastion

The electoral fight in Ponnani is a keenly watched one with United Democratic Front incumbent E.T. Mohammed Basheer pitted against Left Democratic Front (LDF) Independent candidate P.V. Anvar in a no-holds-barred electoral battle in Ponnani, traditionally an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) bastion.

The LDF fielded Mr. Anvar in Ponnani in continuation of its successful experiment with Manjalamkuzhi Ali in Mankada and V. Abdurahman and Mr. Anvar later in the Tanur and Nilambur Assembly constituencies respectively.

Fielding an opulent, non-political candidate who can go beyond political equations to pull a victory against any rival is the current LDF mantra in Ponnani. A victory, no matter how, is what matters for the front in Ponnani.

Little wonder the fight is fierce. The IUML has gone the extra mile to patch up with the Congress in several parts of Ponnani – a matter that has always been a headache for the UDF in the district.

Rahul effect

The arrival of Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad has boosted the UDF spirit in Ponnani too.

Mr. Anvar, who hopes to carve into the Congress votes in Ponnani, had said that he would support Mr. Gandhi. The LDF MLA from Nilambur is facing severe criticism from the UDF as he was in the thick of controversies over land grabbing.

Although Ponnani has always favoured the UDF in its electoral history, its figures in the last three elections are not so favourable for the IUML. Mr. Basheer’s lead of 82,684 votes in 2009 had dipped to 25,410 in 2014. In the Assembly elections held three years ago, the UDF lead in the Ponnani Parliament constituency had further fallen to 1,404.

Of the seven Assembly segments that constitute the Ponnani Parliament constituency, Tirurangadi, Tirur, Kottakkal and Thrithala are in UDF hands. Tanur, Ponnani and Tavanur are with the LDF.

The IUML is banking on Congress support for a third consecutive victory for its national working secretary. “If the Congress men vote, then no doubt E.T. will be home and dry,” said a senior IUML leader.

BJP’s aim

The BJP has fielded V.T. Rema, and is hopeful that it can improve its position cashing in on the Sabarimala sentiment and Narendra Modi’s achievements at the Centre. The BJP had less than 9% share in the last Parliament elections.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:34:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/an-independent-takes-on-a-veteran/article26741989.ece

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