Kerala

Fish takes a star turn in pollscape

LDF candidate C. Divakaran being welcomed with a garland made of fresh fish at Beemapally in Thiruvananthapuram.

LDF candidate C. Divakaran being welcomed with a garland made of fresh fish at Beemapally in Thiruvananthapuram.  

Tharoor’s tweet after a fish market visit elicits quick on-the-ground response from LDF supporters

Candidates in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency appear fixated on proving to the sizeable coastal electorate that they are not ‘squeamish’ about fish.

The question of whether prospective MPs are put off or not by the sight and smell of fish has come to occupy the centre stage of the poll debate in the capital by accident.

A tweet and its aftermath

The incumbent MP, Shashi Tharoor of the Congress, started the furore over fish when he tweeted after a visit to the Connemara Market at Palayam last week that he had “found a lot of enthusiasm at the fish market even for a squeamishly vegetarian MP.”

Dr. Tharoor later clarified that he had meant no offence. He had made a snappy wisecrack aimed only at himself. His family eats fish, but he has been a vegetarian since six. However, fishers have showered him with love and wholeheartedness despite his dietary preferences.

A person close to the MP said the consummate writer in Dr. Tharoor appeared to have zoomed in on the heart-warming absurdity of the situation by making the “innocent and off-the-cuff tweet.”

However, his principal opponent, C. Divakaran of the LLDF, appeared in no mood to grant Dr. Tharoor any quarter. He toured coastal localities in the district on Friday and purposefully accepted baskets of prawns and garlands of fish in an attempt to win brownie points with coastal voters at Dr. Tharoor’s expense.

Mr. Divakaran appeared obsessed about driving home the point that he was not ‘squeamish’ about fish. At Kannanthura and Vettucaud, LDF workers greeted Mr. Divakaran with a wicker basket of freshly hauled in prawns.

At Beemapally, another coastal locality which had voted overwhelmingly for Dr. Tharoor in the past two elections, LDF workers welcomed Mr. Divakaran with freshly netted fish.

Kummanam Rajasekharan, the BJP candidate, is planning his forays into coastal Thiruvananthapuram to win the hearts and minds of fisher families. It remains to be seen what tricks he has up his sleeve to sway coastal voters.

G. Anand

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:18:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/fish-takes-a-star-turn-in-pollscape/article26750222.ece

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