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Religious undercurrents in Kanniyakumari

Pon. Radhakrishnan is predicted to ballot quite a lot of Nadar votes, Vijayakumar Vasanth banks on minorities

Voters in the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency — the place a byelection will likely be held on April 6 — are believed to vote on non secular affinities. The mobilisation on non secular traces started in the Nineteen Eighties.

Former Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan of the BJP received twice, when candidates of main events entered the fray and shared amongst themselves the anti-BJP votes. He is dealing with Congress candidate Vijayakumar Vasanth, son of H. Vasanthakumar, whose loss of life triggered the emptiness. Both are Hindu Nadars, the predominant group of the district. While Mr. Radhakrishnan is predicted to ballot a considerable portion of the group votes, Mr. Vijayakumar may get important help from the Christians and the Muslims, apart from DMK, Congress and Communist voters.

The BJP goes all out to win the constituency again since it’s in energy on the Centre. In an election season, it has belatedly scrapped plans to construct a container transshipment hub in the district by way of public-and-private partnership following opposition from native fishermen, who’re Roman Catholics. It additionally believes that the votes of the ruling AIADMK will work in favour of Mr. Radhakrishnan.

“But the AIADMK’s presence will not help the BJP because there is not much of a change on the ground since the last election. The attitude of the government remains the same, and I believe Mr. Vijayakumar Vasanth stands a better chance of winning the election,” says James Reynolds Daniel, former principal of the Scott Christian College. He additionally believes the middles class and the “intelligentsia” have opinion of the Secular Progressive Alliance due to the “failure of the Central and State governments” to handle the native points, such the Enayam port and the transshipment hub.

When informed that the Centre had scrapped the transshipment hub venture, Mr. Daniels says it’s not simple to learn the thoughts of the federal government since Mr. Radhakrishnan gave an assurance that he wouldn’t convey any venture in opposition to the want of the native folks and subsequently made a case for permitting him to finish the tasks he had already introduced for the district.

“Though the BJP has done a lot of things for the minorities, fringe incidents like harassment of nuns on a train has sent out a wrong signal,” he says.

‘Never betrayed them’

Mr. Radhakrishnan, whereas campaigning at Colachel, regretted that “religion enters the scene during election”, although folks reducing throughout non secular identities attended marriages and different features.

“I was a Central Minister for 10 years and can anyone say I have betrayed the Christians and Muslims? If anyone proves it, I will quit from the election,” he mentioned.

He mentioned the district was lagging behind in growth due to the late MP Vasanthakumar. “That is why we are telling people to vote for Mr. Radhakrishnan and he can make a difference,” says R. Arumugam, secretary, BJP authorized wing.

“What works in our favour is the Assembly election, which has given space for an intense campaign at the grassroots. We hope the cancellation of the transshipment hub project and the goodwill enjoyed by AIADMK candidate Thalavai Sundaram among the fishermen will help Mr. Radhakrishnan too,” Mr. Arumugam says.

But the victory margin of over 2.5 lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha election is simply too large for the BJP to cowl. “The Congress is not campaigning much because it knows that the Christians and the Muslims will solidly vote for the party. The Congress candidate also has the votes of his party and the DMK. But the neutral Hindus among the DMK sympathisers will throw their weight behind Mr. Radhakrishnan because of the anti-Hindu diatribes of the DMK and its allies,” says V. Umaiyorbhagan, former principal, Noorul Islam College of Arts and Science, Kumarakovil.

He says the Kanda Shashti Kavacham controversy, DMK MP Kanimozhi’s speech in opposition to contributing to the Tirupati ‘hundi’ and permitting girls into the Sabarimala temple had been nonetheless recent in the minds of individuals. “But I do not know whether it will pave the way for the victory of the BJP candidate. But Hindu votes have consolidated. The DMK’s objection to the economic criteria for reservation [the open category] has also angered people in the district,” Mr. Umaiyorbhagan says.

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