Tamil Nadu

Vasanthakumar’s son leads in Kanniyakumari

After losing the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency by a whopping 2.59 lakh votes to Congress candidate H. Vasanthakumar two years ago, BJP leader and former Union Minister Pon. Radhakrishnan is all set to lose the bypoll to Vijay Vasanth, son of Vasanthakumar.

At 11.15 p.m., the 37-year-old first-timer was leading by a margin of 1,34,374 votes over the BJP veteran, who has been elected to the Lok Sabha twice. While the INC vote share was over 52%, the BJP was a shade lower than 40%.

Even as Mr. Radhakrishnan, who got elected to the Lok Sabha from the then Nagercoil segment in 2009 and 2014, and BJP cadre were working overtime during electioneering in the Christian-dominant coastal areas to repair the damage caused by the Enayam International Container Transhipment Terminal proposal, the advertisement of Expression of Interest for executing the Kanniyakumari International Container Transhipment Terminal, on the eve of the poll, reopened wounds to cause an irreparable damage to his prospects, say analysts.

Consequently, the fishermen community, with around 1.75 lakh votes in the district, must have solidly backed Mr. Vasanth, as they refused to accept the assurance given by Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in the presence of Mr. Radhakrishnan, even as he campaigned in the district, promising voters that his government would never allow the Kanniyakumari International Container Transhipment terminal. Though sustained attempts were made to drive a wedge between the Christian fishermen and Mr. Vasanth, a Hindu Nadar, the community, without any expectations, seems to have backed the Congress candidate again.

The Hindu Nadar voters in Saamithoppu and its adjoining areas were also against the terminal proposal, as they felt the fertile land would turn barren due to pollution that would be caused by its construction.

“Despite having implemented development works in the district and having plans for its progress, our candidate is staring at a successive defeat. The margin haunts us. We hope our party will nominate him [Mr. Radhakrishnan] to the Rajya Sabha as a mark of recognition of his tireless work for the growth of the party in Tamil Nadu,” said a BJP office-bearer.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 9:23:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/vasanthakumars-son-leads-in-kanniyakumari/article34468169.ece

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