Lok Sabha polls | Unity among secular parties will demolish BJP’s prominent presence in Kanniyakumari: Vijay Vasanth

Updated - April 02, 2024 03:21 pm IST

Published - April 01, 2024 07:42 pm IST - KANNIYAKUMARI 

Vijay Vasanth

Vijay Vasanth | Photo Credit: N. Rajesh

“Though BJP’s presence is prominent in Kanniyakumari district with a considerable vote share, the party’s victory in the past was due to division in Opposition ranks,” says Vijay Vasanth, Congress candidate for Kanniyakumari constituency for the Lok Sabha elections. 

He exuded confidence that unlike the situation in 2014, this time due to the unity among secular parties, it would be a tough game for BJP to face the INDIA bloc in the district.  

Mr. Vasanth, an actor-turned-politician, won the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency in 2021 by-election following his father H. Vasanthakumar’s demise. He defeated BJP’s Pon. Radhakrishnan by a margin of about 1.37 lakh votes.  

Speaking about the religious polarisation tactics of BJP in the district, he says though it has garnered a considerable share of support from the people, those who believe in secularism have always opted for parties such as Congress and DMK.  

As he is confident of winning the support of minorities and the fishing community in this election too, he says this time it could be a challenge for them as those votes may split between them and AIADMK. 

At the same time, he strikes out the possibility that it would affect their winning prospect as the AIADMK’s plan to field a candidate from a fisherfolk community was only to benefit the BJP indirectly. “Their plan could be to disarm INDIA alliance, but people are aware of their politics, and they would not fall for such political games anymore.”  

Regarding the widespread criticism that he was mostly not present in the district during his term and has not done anything exceptional to the constituency, he replies that after he was elected to the Lok Sabha seat, he has mostly been in the constituency with the people but the developments or projects he has done for the constituency could be bare minimum due to various reasons.  

“The major reason I could not bring many projects was due to the discordant approach of the Central government. Even the officials who must implement and oversee the process, prolong every step thereby delaying the completion of projects indefinitely,” he adds.  

Though this was the reality that every opposition candidate faced in bringing about developments in their constituencies, they have done their best, Mr. Vasanth says.  

While parties like Naam Tamilar Katchi repeatedly charges the sitting MPs and ruling party MLAs for being a bystander in dealing with illegal transportation of stones from some dense forest areas of the Western Ghats in the district to neighbouring state of Kerala , he says, it was not an easy task to differentiate the stone transportation that were done legally and illegally as many of the heavy vehicles carrying loads from Tirunelveli pass through Kanniyakumari to reach Vizhinjam.  

“Though I have tried to curb this by containing heavy vehicles movements, the involvement of the Centre to constantly monitor the quarrying of natural resources is essential,” he says.  

Further, he adds, Central government should frame policies to ensure that all the quarrying activities in the areas comes under the ambit of Minerals Act.  

As far as the developmental activities in the constituency are concerned, Mr. Vasanth says some of the major works were the construction of a four-way lane and the extension of Vande Bharat train service till Nagercoil.  

“Once the doubling works on the Nagercoil to Kanniyakumari train route is completed, steps would be taken to extend the Vande Bharat services till Kanniyakumari,” he adds.  

Pointing out to the prevailing lack of employment opportunities in the district, he poses the development of tourism and trading sector as the only way out for providing more jobs to the youngsters.  

Options for any type of industrial operations in the district were scarce as the district was densely populated with natural resources like Western Ghats and water bodies, he adds.  

Necessary steps such as bringing an airport and improving road connectivity for promoting tourism and trade-related activities would be taken if people provided an opportunity again through this election, Mr. Vasanth says. 

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