Age-old demands ranging from Vizhinjam port to a High Court Bench dominated the debate when the candidates in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency came together for an interactive session organised by the Federation of Residents’ Associations, Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT), at the Press Club here on Wednesday.

MP’s achievements

Sitting MP and Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor kicked off the discussion by quickly listing out his major achievements. He projected the steps he took with the aim of bringing the High Court Bench to the capital.

“I introduced a private members’ bill in Parliament to enact a piece of legislation to provide for establishment of permanent Benches of the High Courts in all State capitals. This was meant for Thiruvananthapuram only as most other States already have High Courts in the capital. But on the day of the presentation of the bill, the Bharatiya Janata Party disrupted the session,” he said.

Left Democratic Front candidate Bennet Abraham said that things would not happen unless there was persistent follow-up from the MP’s side. On asked how a newcomer like him could make a difference on an issue in which seasoned campaigners did not find much progress, he said he should be given a chance to prove his mettle.

Governments blamed

BJP candidate O. Rajagopal on the other hand blamed the successive State governments for the failure to bring a High Court Bench here. He said that during his stint as the Union Minister of State for Law, he found that the State government had not sent a request stating that it would bear the initial costs for setting up the bench.

Mr. Tharoor credited himself for obtaining the environmental and Coastal Regulatory Zone clearances for Vizhinjam port. Mr. Rajagopal hit back saying that no one had raised enough voice for the Vizhinjam port after Travancore Diwan C.P. Ramaswami Iyer’s era.

Clean and green city

Aam Aadmi Party candidate Ajit Joy promised to transform the capital back to the ‘clean city, green city’ that it once was. In an obvious reference to Mr. Tharoor’s twin city project with Barcelona which did not take off, he said that “there is no need to go till Barcelona to study waste management, just go till Attingal municipality.”

He also promised to clean up the rivers and develop river banks into green zones. Another notable promise was to keep the campaigning free of flex boards.

Quality education

Mr. Bennet, who pointed his humble background and the fact of him being a native of the district, said that one of his key aims would be to ensure quality education in all government schools.

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