Malappuram (Kerala), Feb 4, 2017: Talks are on in the IUML to find the right candidate for this Lok Sabha constituency that was the stronghold of its late president, E. Ahamed, a party official said on Saturday.
The 78-year-old Ahamed passed away after collapsing in the Central Hall of Parliament on Wednesday. He was all his Lok Sabha elections since he first contested in 1991.
According to sources in the Indian Union Muslim League — the second biggest ally in Kerala’s Congress-led-UDF, preliminary talks have already begun and a decision is expected shortly.
Ahamed in each of the past three Lok Sabha polls increased his margin of victory by about 50,000 votes and in the 2014 polls, his margin had jumped to 1,94,739 votes.
The IUML top brass for the first time has started to consider in terms of fielding one of the members of the Panakkad family — the first family — of the IUML.
In all likelihood, it would be Sayyid Munavvar Ali Shihab, son of late Panakkad Sayyid Muhammad Ali Shihab Thangal, one of their most revered leaders.
Over the years, the IUML has always been led by a member of the Panakkad family, but none has contested for parliamentary posts.
Currently, 39-year-old Munavvar Ali leads the youth wing of the IUML and enjoys a huge following among the youth.
However, if Munavvar Ali decides against contesting, a good number of the IUML leadership would want senior legislator and veteran former state minister P.K. Kunhalikutty to take up the cudgel.
In its upcoming party meeting, IUML would also have to elect its national president to succeed Ahamed.