Kalamassery defeat intensifies factionalism in League

The internal discord in the district unit of the Indian Union Muslim League has intensified with the defeat of the party candidate V.E. Abdul Gafoor in the Kalamassery constituency in the elections.

A section of the party leaders had earlier openly revolted against the candidature of Mr. Gafoor, son of former Minister, Ibrahim Kunju, who was arrested in the Palarivattom flyover case. The defeat of Mr. Gafoor in the constituency, the only seat in the Central and Southern Kerala where the party contested, has added credence to the arguments of the faction in the party, which was opposed to Mr. Kunju.

Though the party, which contested in 27 seats, went down fighting in most of the seats it lost, the defeat at Kalamassery was a humiliating one as it lost by a significant margin, said Abdul Majeed, district president of the League.

The UDF machinery worked with all its might in the constituency and ensured that all its votes were polled. However, its doubtful whether the candidate has succeeded in winning the hearts of neutral voters, he said.

Going by the results, it has to be assumed that the neutral votes went in favour of the LDF candidate as Mr. Gafoor failed to impress the voters in his personal capacity. The candidate could manage only a lead of one vote in his own booth. There has also been a shift in the BJP votes in the constituency in favour of the LDF, which had also influenced the poll outcome, he said.

When asked about the protest meeting held in the constituency against the candidature of Mr. Gafoor, Mr. Majeed said the party functionaries, who publicly opposed the nomination, had withdrawn their protest and worked for the candidate after the League supremo, Panakkad Sayed Hyderali Shihab Thangal, intervened in the issue. The district committee of the party and its local units in Kalamassery will carry out a review of the poll results to get to the root of the poll debacle, he said.

At the same time, Mr. Gafoor maintained that the internal squabbles in the party didn’t leave much impact on the poll outcome.

It was essentially the shifting of BJP votes in favour of the LDF candidate, P. Rajeev, that culminated in the defeat. Moreover, there was opposition from upper caste segments of society to the party’s stand on economic reservation, he said.

On the poor performance in his own booth, Mr. Gafoor said his vote was in a polling booth, which was long considered a stronghold of the LDF.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 5:06:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/kalamassery-defeat-intensifies-factionalism-in-league/article34492774.ece

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