The Vattiyoorkavu constituency in Thiruvananthapuram is all set to witness a triangular contest with Kerala BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan all set to take on the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) sitting MLA K Muraleedharan as well as Dr. TN Seema -Rajya Sabha MP whose tenure came to a close on April 2 this year- who is the Leftâs choice of candidate here.
Till 2006, the said constituency was part of the Thiruvananthapuram North constituency and it was only in 2011 that it became a constituency in its own right with Muraleedharan who also happens to be the son of former state chief minister -the late K Karunakaran- winning the seat by a margin of 16167 votes.
Kummanam had earlier contested the assembly elections once in 1987 as a Hindu Munnani candidate from Thiruvananthapuram and lost.
TNM caught up with Kummanam as he went about his daily campaigning on Wednesday in the Kudapanakunnu area of Vattiyoorkavu for the assembly elections due to be held on May 16.
The morning saw him engaged in a door-to-door visit in the Pathirapally area which proved to be a time-consuming effort. Not for him was the hasty âKindly vote for meâ-and-scoot act.
He could be seen mingling with the residents of the area, indulge in a nicety or two while actually taking the trouble of venturing into the homesteads. He was in for a pleasant surprise when a polio-affected child at one of the homes he dropped by recognized him and enunciated his name with amazing clarity.
This personal and prolonged inter-mingling with his voters naturally makes his dayâs schedule go haywire and he has to opt out of meeting the Kerala Pulaya MahaSabaha (KPMS) leaders with whom the saffron party has an electoral tie-up.
A quick afternoon lunch and siesta later, he arrives at a âkudumba sangamamâ (family- gathering) held in the courtyard of a resident of Erappukuzhy. Addressing the 20-odd people âmostly women- who have gathered there, Kummanam is heard urging his listeners to speed up the blooming of the lotus in the state in order to bring to an end the corruptive practices indulged in by both the LDF and the UDF that have ravaged Kerala for the past 60 years.
Speaking to The News Minute, Kummanam says that his focus has always been on the four basic needs of society i.e. aree (food), vellam (water), mannu (land/shelter) and thozhil (work).
And for that -he believes- people have to be made aware of the dangers of unscientific planning and thoughtless implementation of developmentâ¦all in the name of progress which only serves to destroy the tenuous relationship between man and Nature in the long run.
When asked to delineate the master-plan that he kept talking about during the course of campaigning, Kummanam had this to say: âThe exact details can be worked out, once BJP comes to power. But the need of the hour is a master-plan for each constituency keeping in mind the various facets of development. Only then will Kerala reach its full potential. For that, the masses need to reconnect with the soil.â
According to him, agriculture should be the mainstay wherein Kerala needs to be become self-sufficient to meets its own food-requirements rather than depend on neighbouring states for the same.
âKerala -sad to say- produces only 13% of the food that it consumes. The rest come from our neighbours. Even when the Centre has set aside Rs.35000 crores for the agriculture sector, why is it that our state still lags behind in terms of food-security?â he asks.
He points out an interesting fact that the state allows Rs.2000 crore-worth jackfruits to go waste every year, while not hesitating to buy finished products of the same from Tamil Nadu.
The veteran leader is also perturbed by the trend of young Malayalis leaving the state to search for employment elsewhere. âThere are around 5 lakh Malayalis in Kuwait and around 30-35 lakhs in Delhi. Why do our youth feel the need to migrate if the present and previous state governments had indeed succeeded in generating lakhs of jobs, as they always claim?â
As is the wont of all BJP candidates here, Kummanam too does not fail to evoke the Gujarat Model for the betterment of Kerala as a whole. When I gently draw his attention to the severe online trolling, that cricketer and fellow-candidate Sreesanth had to face regarding the same, Kummanam wanted to have a look at the actual statistics before he was willing to believe that Kerala was way ahead of Gujarat in terms of the development index.
While leaving for his closed door meeting with Thiruvananthapuram Latin Diocese Archbishop Soosa Pakiam and the newly ordained Auxiliary Bishop R Christudas at the Bishop House at Vellayambalam in the evening, Kummanam seems visibly burdened at not just having to win the number game in his own constituency, but also to steer his party into a new dawn into Keralaâs hitherto bipolar political scenario.
The Archbishop was quick to praise Kummanam as someone who could bridge the gnawing gaps between hearts in order to build a cohesive society. Whether this would actually translate into winning votes on ground can be seen once elections are over.