M Abdul Salam, BJP’s only Muslim LS candidate, fielded from Kerala

Salam aims to "dispel anti-BJP sentiments among Muslims", particularly in Malappuram

M Abdul Salam, an agricultural scientist and former vice-chancellor of Calicut University in Kerala, holds a unique distinction of being the only Muslim candidate in the BJP’s recently announced list of 195 candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Salam, a PhD holder, was previously considered by the Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) for the vice-chancellor position in 2011, when the UDF ruled Kerala. Nominated by the BJP for the Muslim-dominated Malappuram seat, Salam will compete against IUML’s ET Muhammed Basheer and CPI’s V Vaseef.

Salam has been associated with the BJP since 2019, when he joined its Kerala unit led by PS Sreedharan Pillai. Consequently, he was appointed as the BJP’s Minority Morcha’s national vice-president. Despite losing the 2021 Assembly elections in Tirur, where he received only 5.33% of the votes, Salam is currently running as a BJP candidate in Malappuram, which is historically an IUML stronghold.

MS Education Academy

Salam was a distinguished scholar and professional, but his time as vice-chancellor of Calicut University was marred by controversies, including disagreements with student unions connected to the CPI (M) and claims of land grabbing. Salam attributes IUML’s influence, given their role in the UDF government, to his appointment.

Salam remains undeterred by pending legal cases and emphasises his focus on dispelling anti-BJP sentiments among Muslims, particularly in Malappuram.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Salam said he was not against the IUML or the CPI (M). “My task is to make the poor, innocent Muslims realise the false propaganda against the Narendra Modi government and the BJP. In Malappuram, there is a significant change in the approach of Muslims, especially among educated ones, towards the BJP,” he added further.

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