Indian Union Muslim League General Secretary PK Kunhalikutty on Monday won the Malappuram bye-election in Kerala by a margin of more than 1.71 lakh votes. The bye-poll was held on April 12, necessitated by the death of IUML leader and former Union minister E Ahamed, who had been elected to the Lok Sabha constituency.

Kunhalikutty was fielded as the candidate for the Congress-led United Democratic Front. Left Democratic Front’s MB Faisal, who is a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), stood second, while the Bharatiya Janata Party’s N Sreeprakash came in a distant third.

The IUML leader said the electorate had placed its faith in him after he had pitched for the need for a “secular outlook”. “The unity of the Congress-led UDF has helped us win this,” he said, according to IANS. More than 4,000 people voted for “None of the Above”.

The counting began at 8 am on Monday. Around 71.33% of the electorate had turned up to vote in the bye-election. Six independent candidates were also in the fray. The Malappuram constituency has a Muslim-majority population.