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The "emphatic" victory of the UDF in theMalappuram Lok Sabha by-election has brought to fore the importance of consolidation of the "secular, democratic forces" at the national level, Kerala Janata Dal (United) chief MP Veerendra Kumar said today. Hailing the "shining" victory of UDF candidate PK Kunhalikutty, the Rajya Sabha member said the IUML leader could play a big role in national politics in place of late E Ahamed, who he said, had tried a lot for the unity of the democratic forces. The challenge thrown up by the BJP and Sangh Parivar couldnot be faced by a single party, Kumar said in a release here, adding, "It was not the local issues, but thechallenges faced by the nation which were on debate during the Malappuram Lok Sabha by-poll campaign." Kunhalikutty and his party IUML had a "bigger role" to play in opposing the Sangh Parivar's "anti-democratic and dictatorial" politics, the JD(U) leader said. Secular parties like the Congress, SP, BSP, JD(U), NCP and RJD should work on a common platform, he added. If it worked,a national alternative could be formed, in which the IUML's part will be "significant" and it would usher in a new phase in electoral politics, Kumar said. Kunhalikutty won the by-poll witha margin of over 1.7 lakh votes over his nearest LDF rival.
The by-poll was necessitated by the death of Ahamed.