The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) has retained PK Kunhalikutty and ET Mohammed Basheer as its candidates for the Malappuram and Ponnani Lok Sabha seats.
With the announcement made by party supremo Syed Hyderali Shihab Thangal on Saturday, the party also made it clear not to stake claim for a third seat. This should come as a relief to the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) which can now firmly reject the claim of the Kerala Congress (Mani) for a second seat.
IUML, the second largest party in the UDF, also put to rest rumours of the two leaders exchanging seats. Kunhalikutty will face SFI national president VP Sanu, the LDF candidate in Malappuram and Basheer it will take on Nilambur MLA and Congress rebel PV Anwar in Ponnani. A section in the Congress had come out openly against Basheer being considered for the Ponnani seat. This had fuelled rumours that there would be an exchange of seats.
The LDF now hopes to cash in on this dissent in the Congress by fielding Anwar, once a party follower who had contested from Ernad Assembly constituency in 2011 as an Independent candidate and came second.