Nilambur (Kerala), April 22 (IANS) For Aryadan Shoukat, it is a fight not just to win the Nilambur assembly constituency in Malappuram district, but to take forward the legacy of his father — state Minister of Electricity Aryadan Mohammed – whose name will always find a place of pride in the Congress party’s political history in Kerala.
Incidentally, Malappuram district is the home turf of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF)’s second biggest ally, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), which holds 12 seats, while the Congress holds two and the remaining two seats are held by the CPI-M.
Shoukat is not a novice in politics as he has come up in the Congress party from the grassroots by heading the Nilambur panchayath, and then the Nilambur municipality. However, this is his first outing in the assembly polls. The Congress party gave the nod to his father’s wish that the Nilambur assembly seat be given to his son, as he has decided to retire from electoral politics.
Mohammed, who turns 81 next month, is an eight-time legislator from Nilambur, and has won every election since 1977, except in 1982. He is considered the master brain in the Congress party when the factional feud in the party reached dizzying heights, when it was headed by K. Karunakaran and A.K. Antony. From the 1970s into the mid 1990s he was the mainstay in the erstwhile Antony faction and again when it was rechristened as the Chandy faction.
Shoukat is also a national award winning film personality. He has produced and also written the story for the film “Paadam Onnu: Oru Vilapam”.
Expressing absolute confidence in winning the seat, Shoukat said there is no doubt about his victory and his aim is to triple the victory margin secured by his father in the 2011 polls — of 5,598 votes.
“I been with my people all these years and I know what the people here are looking for. I am comfortably placed as I have been working as a people’s representative in the local body and the municipality for a while,” said Shoukat.
Shoukat takes on Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) candidate P.V. Anwar, who told IANS that a surprise would be in store when the votes are counted on May 19.
“The surprise is that I will win, and that is because this constituency which my rival candidate’s father was representing for decades has not experienced development,” Anwar said.
“Hence my job is easy. I could sense it as I enter my second round of campaigning,” said Anwar.
Among the 14 districts in the state, Malappuram is the only Muslim dominated district. According to latest figures, of the 41.12 lakh total population comprising of 19.60 lakh males and 21.52 lakh females, the Muslim community comprises 28.88 lakhs (13.61 lakh males and 15.27 lakh females), followed by Hindus at 11.35 lakhs (5.55 lakh males and 5.80 lakh females), and then the Christians at 81,556 (39,925 males and 41,631 females).
Kerala goes to the polls on May 16 for its 140 assembly seats.