Kerala

Strong base helps UDF

The third consecutive victory of Anto Antony from the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency has once again proved the strong United Democratic Front base in this Central Travancore segment.

Mr. Antony has been representing Pathanamthitta in the Lok Sabha ever since the formation of the constituency in 2009.

However, his contest for a third term attained much significance against the backdrop of the inner-party murmurs and resentment, the aggressive Hindutva card played by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) propping up the Sabarimala women’s entry issue, and the ruling CPI(M) move to wrest the seat at any cost by fielding sitting Aranmula MLA Veena George hoping for a major division in the minority votes in its favour.

Ms. George who could steer the LDF to victory with the alleged backing of a prominent church group in the 2014 Assembly polls was the Chief Minister’s own pick.

The entry of BJP leader K. Surendran whose popularity has gone up considerably by spearheading the Sangh Parivar-sponsored stir against the court verdict permitting women of all age groups to the Sabarimala temple has further tightened the contest.

The LDF campaign was personally monitored by the Chief Minister, taking it a prestige seat. The Sangh Parivar has taken over the poll campaign of Mr. Surendran.

It appeared that, barring the Sabarimala women’s entry issue and the LDF government’s alleged oppressive stand against the Ayyappa devotees at the holy hillock, the BJP did not have any other poll strategy.

Those involved in Mr. Surendran’s poll campaign were critical of the lacklustre involvement of the party machinery on the campaign front. Despite all such odds, Mr. Surendran performed fairly well.

Benefit for Cong., BJP

It is also a fact that the Sabarimala issue benefited both the Congress and the BJP in a big way. The Congress with a traditionally well-knit organisational machinery in the district has succeeded in transforming the electorates’ goodwill generated over the Sabarimala issue into votes in its favour in a better way than the BJP.

The division of the anti-government Hindu votes among the UDF and the BJP over the Sabarimala issue, coupled with the division of minority votes, especially Christian, among the UDF and the LDF, ultimately proved beneficial to Mr. Antony.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 7:40:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/strong-base-helps-udf/article27240345.ece

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