Ponnani: Ponnani Lok Sabha constituency in North Kerala, regarded as an impenetrable citadel of Indian Union Muslim League, a key partner of ruling Congress-led UDF, is all set to witness another round of electoral battle without much threat to IUML.
In a bid to make inroads into the vote bank of UDF fortress and thwart the challenges posed by IUML, CPI-M has fielded a former Congress leader V Abdurahman as LDF independent to take on the sitting MP and IUML State General Secretary E T Muhammed Basheer of UDF.
However, the LDF's task is not as easy as the political history of the constituency, comprising majority of Muslims, demonstrate that voters have preferred an IUML candidate for the last three decades.
Veteran IUML leader late G M Banatwalla won the seat with a resounding margin seven times in 1977, 1980, 1984, 1989, 1996, 1998 and 1999. Similarly, another IUML leader late Sulaiman Sait also won the seat in 1991.
IUML's hold in the constituency is so evident as Banatwalla won the seat consecutively even though he was from Maharashtra and not fluent in local Malayalam language.
In the 2009 polls, Basheer trounced his LDF independent with a margin of 82,684 votes by securing nearly 51 per cent of the total votes polled. The LDF candidate got 30 per cent of votes and BJP around seven per cent.
Taking the national political issue as main campaign plank, IUML seeks votes to keep away 'BJP-led Narendra Modi' from the Centre. "Vote for IUML is a vote for UPA and a secular India" is the slogan in the constituency.
Along with this, the party also asks votes for the continuation of the development works initiated during Basheer's tenure as MP.
"We seek vote to keep the communal and fascist forces away from Centre. It is also important to continue the welfare and development measures initiated by the 10-year rule of UPA," Basheer told PTI.
Meanwhile, 'vote for a change' is the slogan of LDF in the constituency. They mainly target the wrong economic policies of the Centre during the campaign.
"The constituency is in the hands of IUML for several years and I stand for a change," Abdurahman said.