WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India
Apr 17, 2019, 11.36 AM
Kanyakumari, the sole Lok Sabha constituency BJP won in Tamil Nadu in 2014, is one of the two constituencies in Tamil Nadu where the BJP and Congress will face each other (the other being Sivagangai LS constituency).
Sitting MP and Union Minister of State P Radhakrishnan, who is seeking re-election from the constituency, is pitted against businessman and Congress leader H Vasantha Kumar, who faced defeat against the same opponent in 2014.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, out of the total 14.67 lakh voters, 9.91 lakhs voted. Radhakrishnan secured victory by garnering 3.72 lakh votes (37.80 per cent) while Vasanthakumar was runner up with 2.44 lakh votes (24.76 per cent).
In 2014, the Congress, the DMK and the CPI (M) contested separately. Similarly, the BJP and the AIADMK fought against each other. Votes split among various parties. However, this time, the DMK-Congress-CPI (M) are in an alliance while the BJP fighting the elections with the AIADMK.
This could lead to consolidation on both sides. If one goes by the last election data, the BJP-AIADMK combine has an advantage as it polled a total of 5.48 lakh votes while the DMK-Congress-CPM (M) polled a total of 4.56 lakh votes. However, this arithmetic could possibly change. Last time, the Christian Nadar community and fishermen strongly supported the AIADMK. This time, this could tilt towards the DMK due to AIADMK’s alliance with the BJP.
Moreover, in the run-up to the 2014 General elections, the BJP had promised to establish a commercial port near Colachel in the constituency. But, the location of the harbour was shifted to Enayam as an International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (EICTT) instead of the promised commercial port after BJP formed the government in the Centre.
Ever since this idea was mooted, the fishermen community in the region was up in arms and said that project will mean the destruction of homes and religious places, loss of agricultural land and waters for fishing, and drastic changes to the local coastal landscape. A prolonged struggle of the community made the government to shift the project site. However, the unhappy fishermen in the region could vote against the BJP en masse.
Called Ponnar among local people, Radhakrishnan is chasing a back-to-back victory. However, a win for retailer Vasanthakumar, founder of Vasanth & Co, will be a revenge for the loss he suffered at the hands of Radhakrishnan last time.
Sitting MP and Union Minister of State P Radhakrishnan, who is seeking re-election from the constituency, is pitted against businessman and Congress leader H Vasantha Kumar, who faced defeat against the same opponent in 2014