Candidates in Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal outline their priorities

United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate in the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency Bindu Krishna could not have asked for a better opportunity to present her case before a crucial section of voters, the Latin Catholic community, here on Friday.

A meet-the-candidate event for nominees in the Attingal constituency organised by the Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese at the Animation Centre at Vellayambalam saw both A. Sampath of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Girijakumari of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fail to make it to the event, thus giving Ms. Krishna an unchallenged stage to list her priorities and promises for the coastal voters, a good share of whom are from the Latin Catholic community.

She replied to questions from the audience on various coastal issues with assurances that she would ‘set right’ things for them.

CRZ norms

Ms. Krishna said the fears of the coastal people over the Coastal Regulation Zone rules were a bigger issue than the controversies over the K. Kasturirangan or the Madhav Gadgil panel reports since the fishing community had for long been living in misery.

Remedies for problems caused by the ‘unscientific’ construction of a breakwater at Muthalapozhi, the perennial threat of sea erosion at Anchuthengu, and the declaration of Anchuthengu as a model fishing village were among the promises made by her to the people.

Earlier, the event, moderated by Fr. Eugene Pereira, Vicar-General, Thiruvananthapuram Archdiocese, saw four candidates in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency present their cases and take questions from the audience.

The UDF’s Shashi Tharoor, the LDF’s Bennet Abraham, the BJP’s O. Rajagopal, and the Aam Aadmi Party’s Ajit Joy first heard seven questions from the audience and then gave their answers, with Mr. Tharoor first listing out his ‘achievements’ in the past five years.

Fisheries ministry

The questions included what the candidates, if elected, would do to ensure a separate Ministry for Fisheries at the Centre; what they had to do to bring sea erosion, tidal attacks, and lightning accidents under the national list of natural calamities; their take on the issues of Dalit Christians; on representation of the Latin Catholic community in government posts; and other coastal concerns such as drinking water, housing, and the Vizhinjam harbour project.