Thumping win for IUML strongman Kunhalikutty

Fending off an aggressive campaign against him over the scandal during the run-up to the elections, Kunhalikutty trounced his nearest LDF-backed Indian National League opponent K P Ismail.

Barring once in 2006, Kunhalikutty, IUML state General Secretary, had won all the elections since 1982.

Kunhalikutty, who was a member of the ministries headed by late K Karunakaran, A K Antony and Oommen Chandy, won twice from Malappuram in 1982 and 1986 and from Kuttippuram in 1991, 1996 and 2001.

"The victory was credible as UDF and specially IUML was targeted by the CPIM-led Left Democratic Front. UDF had to face strong hurdles and I was targeted by the LDF," an elated Kunhalikutty told reporters after his victory.

The sex scandal relates to allegations that surfaced in late 1990s that an ice cream parlour in Kozhikode city was being used as a cover to lure young women into prostitution.

Kunhalikutty quit as Industries Minister in the Congress-led UDF Government in 2004 following the allegations. He, however, did not figure as an accused in the case.The resurfacing of the "ice cream parlour" sex case, in which Kunhalikutty's name was often dragged, was used as a weapon against him by LDF during electioneering.

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