In a bid to improve its winnability factor at Kerala’s Pathanamthitta, the BJP is exploring the scope of tie-ups with a local independent MLA who could influence Christian vote banks of the constituency.
According to political analysts, about 35-40% of voters of Pathanamthitta constituency are from the Christian community and about 50% from the Hindu community.
P C George, a six-time MLA, has considerable influence among the voters of Poojar and Kanjirapally Assembly segments, the Christian belts in Pathanamthitta constituency. Hence, the BJP is trying to rope in the support of George, an independent MLA and former state Congress leader.
Pathanamthitta is one of the few constituencies on which the BJP is pinning high hopes of opening account to Lok Sabha from Kerala. BJP state general secretary K Surendran is the candidate. George confirmed to DH that some talks were held with the NDA’s national leaders on supporting BJP candidates. “I will be taking a decision on the matter within a couple of days as I have to think over it,” he said.
Earlier, there were even reports that George might contest from Pathanamthitta.
BJP state general secretary M T Ramesh, however, maintained that he was unaware of any talks going on between P C George and the NDA or BJP leadership.
While the Congress has fielded sitting MP Anto Antony for a third-term, the CPM has fielded Veena George, sitting MLA of the Aranmula Assembly segment in Pathanamthitta constituency, considering her influence among the Christian vote banks. Anto Antony’s votes came down from 4.08 lakh in 2009 to 3.58 in 2014, whereas BJP’s votes increased from around 56,000 to 1.3 lakh.
Meanwhile, the repercussions of the tug of war between BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai and Pathanamthitta candidate K Surendran continued. While Surendran said that the Sabarimala women entry row would be the major election issue of Pathanamthitta, Sreedharan disputed it and said that the Modi government’s development issues would be the major electoral issue.