Union minister Ahmed aims for 7th Lok Sabha innings
Ahmed of IUML will take on CPI(M)'s first-time candidate PK Sainaba
Ahmed of IUML, the second largest partner in Congress-led ruling UDF, is pitted against CPI-M's debutant woman candidate P K Sainaba. Fully aware of the arduous task on hand, Sainaba, national Vice-President of All India Democratic Women Organisation, is making unsparing efforts to re-write the electoral history of Malappuram, considered to be 'green citadel' of the state. The silver lining for Sainaba is that, Manjeri has a history of electing a CPI-M candidate in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
T K Hamsa defeated IUML's K P Majeed with a huge margin of 47,743 votes in that poll. However, political observers say political situation in the state was entirely different at that time. UDF was virtually routed in 2004 polls due to strong anti-UDF sentiments and could win only one seat out of 20. Then also, it was Ahmed who made it to Parliament from nearby Ponnani segment.
Ahmed recaptured the constituency in the 2009 polls with an impressive margin of more than one lakh votes. Cutting across vast thickly-populated rural stretches of Malappuram district, the constituency has the unique distinction of sending only Muslim League nominees since 1952, except in 2004.
Ironically, for Ahmed, who won the constituency five times, opposition came this time from his own party cadres. A section of youth league workers objected to 78-year old Ahmed's candidature citing his health problem and advancing age. However, Ahmed prevailed upon the party leadership and became the candidate.
During campaigning, Ahmed highlights the significance of UPA coming back to power and the danger of BJP led by Narendra Modi ruling the country. Achievements and various welfare measures initiated by him as Minister of State for External Affairs, are also mentioned during electioneering in the constituency which has more than three lakh people employed in the Middle East.
Sainaba, a CPI-M state Committee member, on the other hand focuses on issues related to women and soaring prices of essential commodities. The constituency also has a link with communism as the birth place of CPI-M stalwart and former Chief Minister E M S Namboothiripad.
Adding impetus to Sainaba's campaign, EMS's daughter E M Radha is always accompanying her in the constituency. Registering steady growth over the years, the BJP has put up N Sreeprakesh, party district secretary to take on the UDF and LDF candidates.