Sarada who lives near Aranmula Parthasarathy temple believes that the BJP candidate will win from Aranmula constituency in Pathanamthitta district, in the coming Kerala Assembly Elections. "He is a Christian candidate and Christians are very prominent here. So the party has fielded Biju Mathew (minority morcha leader), so there is every chance of his victory," she said.
Like Sarada, there are many who live near the Parthasarathy temple, some belonging to dominant castes who support the BJP. Sarada said that she believed that the BJP would win in 2016 as well, but were defeated.
The 2016 poll battle in Aranmula, however, was hardly a close fight. The CPI(M)â€™s Veena George won from the constituency with a margin of more than 7600 votes. It was Congressâ€™ K Sivadasan Nair who ended up second, with BJP placing a distant third. In 2011, Sivadasan of the Congress defeated KC Rajagopal of CPI(M). The history of Aranmula's politics has alternated between the CPI(M) and the Congress in Assembly polls.
In its attempt to breach the bipolar contest, the BJP has raised the Sabarimala womenâ€™s entry issue in Aranmula as it is close to Sabarimala. The party had also attempted to field a member of the Pandalam Royal family, who were against the Sabarimala women entry. But the family refused the offer, choosing not to side with one political party.
With Orthodox Christians being a sizable community in the constituency, CPI(M) chose to field journalist and sitting MLA Veena George, who belongs to the community.
"She is a very approachable person. We can tell anything to her. During the floods and whenever we needed she was with us. She was on the ground working for us. Have you seen the roads here, they were not like this earlier. Also the pregnant women support group during COVID-19 was also very popular. She knew the problems of the constituency," says Sheela, a voter from the constituency and a supporter of CPI(M).
Mathew of Kulanada, a supporter of the Congress believed that Sivadasan Nair, who has been fielded by the party once again, will make a powerful comeback. "Last five years, the CPI(M) hasn't done anything to solve issues of drinking water supply in the houses. Still people have to walk kilometers. During Sabarimala and whether related to any belief issues, UDF was with people. They considered all equal and not like BJP," he said.
In 2020 local body polls, out of 13 panchayats in the Aranmula Assembly constituency, the UDF has a majority in five and LDF rules in six. BJP has prominence in just the Kulanada panchayat. If one goes by these results, Aranmula could well see a neck and neck fight between LDF and UDF in 2021.