Like in the last parliamentary election, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), which will complete a decade of its formation this June, is contesting for only one seat in the State — Dakshina Kannada — in this Lok Sabha election. It is contesting for the second consecutive time from here.
The party’s State president Mohammed Iliyas is among 13 contestants in the constituency this time. In 2014, the party had pushed the Communist Party of India (Marxists) to the fourth position from the third it was in in 2009 in Dakshina Kannada. The CPI(M) which was in the third position in the 2009 election with a vote share of 1.80% (18,328 votes of total 10,15,922 votes) was relegated to the fourth position with a vote share of 0.77 % (9,394 votes of total 12,07,583 votes) in 2014. The SDPI had secured third place with 2.25% vote share in the last Lok Sabha election in Dakshina Kannada. Of 12,07,583 valid votes cast, the party candidate, Hanif Khan Kodaje, had secured 27,254.
Incidentally, the SDPI had withdrawn its candidature reportedly to help the Congress in Bantwal Assembly segment, under Dakshina Kannada, in last year’s Assembly election.
A.M. Athavullah, president, Dakshina Kannada unit of the party, told The Hindu that though it withdrew from the contest, the ‘secular party’ in the fray could not defeat the BJP in Bantwal last year. Hence, the party is contesting the Lok Sabha election as other parties which claim to be secular have failed to replace the BJP in the constituency for the past seven consecutive terms.
Mr. Athavullah said that SDPI’s main opponent in the constituency was the BJP. He said the party did not field its candidates in other 27 constituencies to ensure that the secular votes did not divide to favour the BJP.