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Lok Sabha polls 2024: Keeping fingers crossed over hands' prospects in Thiruvananthapuram

The BJP, which became runner-up in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, indeed has reasons for hope as many in the coastal areas who never hesitated to show their 'hand' to express Congress's victory chances are now keeping fingers crossed.
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 08:18 IST
Last Updated : 16 April 2024, 08:18 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: As Thiruvananthapuram witnesses all out efforts by union minister of state Rajeev Chandrasekhar to make lotus bloom, the crucial question doing the rounds is whether the coastal areas that are considered to be strongholds of the Congress will rethink this time on reelecting Shashi Tharoor for the fourth time in a row.

The BJP, which became runner-up in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, indeed has reasons for hope as many in the coastal areas who never hesitated to show their 'hand' to express Congress's victory chances are now keeping fingers crossed.

"I have been a Congress supporter over the last many decades. Even then I won't hesitate to say that it is quite tough this time," said a fisherman in his seventies at the Pulluvila near Vizhinjam, around 20 kilometres from Thiruvananthapuram.

He further added, "BJP candidate's assurances of uplifting our living conditions sounds to be quite convincing. During recent sea erosion he made good interventions too."

Vijayan, a driver based at nearby Kanjiramkulam, who also claimed to be a Congress supporter, shared the same opinion.

When asked if people like him from the minority communities were concerned over BJP's policies, he said, "Congress and CPM, which have been ruling so far, did not do much for our upliftment. So why don't we experiment BJP this time."

However, BJP local leaders are still sceptical. "Usually on the election eve the coastal community will get messages from churches and jamaaths to back the Congress," said a local leader.

Concern of Congress over BJP's penetration attempts in coastal areas was evident in Tharoor's excitement over a BJP local leader from the coastal area, Francis Albert, joining the Congress the other day.

The response during Chandrasekhar's road show through the coastal areas on Friday did not invoke much curiosity among the people, whereas Tharoor who did his roadshow through BJP's strongholds of Nemom got considerable viewers.

While Chandrasekhar, aged 59, attempts to influence the upper middle class with offers like making Thiruvananthapuram an IT hub, BJP camps give the icing on the cake that Thiruvananthapuram will get an union minister if he wins.

But a large chunk of the upper middle class, cutting across religions, are unhappy over the 'threats to secularism' under BJP regime.

Tharoor, who is 68, is countering the campaign that he did nothing considerable for the constituency over the last 15 years by door to door distribution of a book detailing his initiatives like interventions in making Vizhinjam international seaport a reality and bringing major IT firms to Thiruvananthapuram.

Even as left-front candidate, CPI's veteran leader Panniyan Raveendran, is now lamenting over Tharoor's recent remark that left-front candidate has become irrelevant, his critics cite that Panniyan himself stated openly during candidate selection that he was not interested to contest.

Panniyan, who was Thiruvananthapuram MP from 2005 to 2009, is a very familiar face in Thiruvananthapuram. Hence he plays the 'local native' tag against both Tharoor and Chandrasekhar.

Anti-incumbency against the left-front government in Kerala and police action against Latin catholics priests as well as the widespread whisper campaign that left-front will ensure Tharoor's victory to avoid BJP open account to Lok Sabha from here are adverse factors for Panniyan, who is 78.

In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, total number of voters stood at 1430531, which included 6,89,155 males, 7,41,317 females and 59 transgenders.

In the last Lok Sabha polls, Shashi Tharoor won by a margin of 99,989. He was followed by BJP's Kummanam Rajasekharan and CPI's C Divakaran.

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Published 16 April 2024, 08:18 IST

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