Congress could not win Ponnani Lok Sabha seat since 1951 elections
Kochi, May 17: Out of the 70 plus years in independent India, the Congress party which ruled monopoly over government formation for over sixty years Ponnani Lok Sabha seat remains a mystery. The Muslim dominant constituency in Kerala hasn't returned a single Congress candidate since 1951.
This time around 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.
Ponnani has been represented 11 times by the IUML and its candidates have been recording a continuous run of victories from 1977 onwards. Since then, the Ponnani remained an IUML bastion. The Muslim-dominant constituency was Left lenient in 1962, 1967 and 1971 general elections. In 1977, IUML national leader G M Banatwala wrested Ponnani where he enjoyed landslide victory for seven times, while another national leader Ebrahim Sulaiman Sait sailed to an easy win in 1991. Former Union Minister E Ahamed won the seat in 2004. Sitting MP E T Mohammed Basheer retained Ponnani in 2009 and 2014.
However, the next election onwards the constituency started witnessing a steady fall in the vote share of the UDF and a remarkable increase in the voter base of LDF. 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.
What is interesting is that even Congress top guns like former two time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy are not aware of Ponnani's 'track record'.
BJP' V T Rema 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 per cent share in the last Parliament elections.
The Ponnani Lok Sabha seat encompasses seven assembly constituencies, of which six are in Malappuram district, while the Thirthala constituency is located in Palakkad district.