Kerala Assembly Election 2021, Vengara profile: IUML strongman PK Kunhalikutty eyes third term from seat
The IUML has won every Assembly election held in Vengara since the constituency came to existence in 2011
Vengara Assembly Election 2021 | Vengara is an IUML fortress in the Malappuram district which came into existence following the last delimitation exercise in Kerala.
Vengara will vote on 6 April, 2021, along with the rest of Kerala.
Muslim League strongman PK Kunhalikutty who represented the seat twice — in 2011 and 2016 — is expected to be in the fray again in the 2021 election.
Kunhalikutty had quit the Vengara seat in 2017 and successfully contested the Malappuram Lok Sabha by-election that was necessitated following IUML president E Ahamed’s death. He was re-elected to the Lower House of the Parliament in 2019, but tendered his resignation ahead of the Kerala Assembly election to return to state politics.
Kunhalikutty, a troubleshooter for the UDF, is seen as the most powerful IUML leader in Kerala. Sitting Vengara MLA KNA Khader, who took over the office in 2017, has said that he is willing to vacate the seat if the party wishes to field Kunhalikutty from there.
Anti-incumbency is often the norm in Kerala Assembly elections. If the UDF wins the state this time, the IUML is likely to negotiate for the creation of a deputy chief ministerial post for Kunhalikutty.
Past election results and winners
The IUML has won every Assembly election held in Vengara since it was formed in 2011. In the 2017 by-election that was held after PK Kunhalitkutty’s resignation, IUML’s KNA Khader polled 65,227 votes against CPM rival PP Basheer who received 41,917 votes.
Total electors, voter turnout, population
Electors: Vengara has an electorate of 1.82 lakh, comprising 94,403 male, 87,652 female and one third-gender. The Assembly constituency has 155 polling stations.
Voter turnout: In 2016, Vengara had a voter turnout of 70.77 percent in the Assembly election. Over 1.2 lakh voters exercised their franchise, of whom 56,263 were men and 63,770 were women.
Population: The Vengara Assembly segment comprises Chelembra, Moonniyur, Pallikkal, Peruvallur, Thenhippalam and Vallikkunnu panchayats in Tirurangadi taluk.
As per Census 2011, of Kerala's 3.34 crore population, 54.73 percent are followers of Hinduism, followed by 26.56 percent followers of Islam and 18.38 percent Christians. Hinduism is the major religion in 13 of the state's 14 districts.
Malappuram is the only district in Kerala where Islam is the major religion with 70.24 percent of the district's total population following the religion.
The state has a tiny population that follows Jainism (0.01 percent), Sikhism (0.01 percent), Buddhism (0.01 percent) and 0.02 percent (other religions). Nearly 0.26 percent in the state didn't state their religion during the 2011 Census.
Election date and timing
The Kerala Assembly/Niyama Sabha polls will be held on 6 April, 2021, along with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The day will also see phase three polls in Assam and West Bengal.
The Kerala Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) has a total number of 140 seats, of which, 14 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and two seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
The outgoing Assembly has eight female MLAs and rest 132 are male MLAs. The incumbent Kerala Niyamasabha will expire on 1 June, 2021.
Political alliances and Kerala
Elections in Kerala have traditionally been a contest between the UDF and the LDF with power swinging between the two groups.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Congress-led UDF had won 19 out of the state’s 20 Lok Sabha seats banking on incumbency against the ruling LDF. However, repeating a similar feat in the Assembly polls is going to be an uphill task for the UDF.
The LDF has not only managed to overcome anti-incumbency in the 2020 local body polls but also managed to make inroads into UDF votebanks, particularly in Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Kottayam districts.
The NDA, which is emerging as a third front in Kerala, will be hoping to increase its tally in the Assembly polls. However, given that the BJP-led NDA didn't meet the expectations in the 2020 local body polls despite making gains, its ability to impact either the UDF's or LDF's prospects in the Assembly election remains unclear.
Of the seven Assembly segments that are part of the Kasaragod Parliamentary constituency, five are with the CPM-led LDF (four with CPM, and one with CPI) while IUML, a constituent of the Congress-led UDF, is the second-largest party, winning the remaining two seats (Kasaragod and Manjeshwaram) in the last Assembly polls.
BJP didn't win any of the seven Assembly segments that are part of the Kasaragod Parliamentary constituency in 2016.
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