news Monday, June 22, 2015 - 05:30
Initially looking like a cakewalk for the Congress, the by-elections for the Aruvikkara constituency in the state capital have now become battleground for egos. While Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has been openly calling the election results a mandate to his government’s rule of four years, the CPI (M) is locked in an internal tussle between former CM VS Achutanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan, with the former leading the campaign. Against the CPI (M)’s campaign might and the BJP’s veteran candidate O Rajagopal, the Congress has fielded political greenhorn KS Sabarinadhan (31), the son of late Kerala Assembly Speaker G Karthikeyan. An MBA graduate and senior manager at Tata Trusts, Sabarinathan’s switchover to politics, and that too as a candidate, had not gone down well with many Congress leaders. But in the last few days there appears to be a change of heart, with Congress leaders praising GK’s son and the media too finding him ‘affable’. In an interview to The News Minute, Sabarinadhan says he wants to be a candidate who only focuses on the future and keeps the tone positive. “There are some political leaders who have questioned my father and his work, but that’s their politics. I am limiting my campaign to positive issues, reminding the voters what my dad and Congress has achieved and telling them what more is possible,” he said. Campaigning with Shashi Tharoor His nomination was controversial, but Sabarinadhan brushes it aside saying that politics was always in his blood. “I am not new to politics; it has always been a part of life. I was active in student politics and always wanted to be a part of electoral politics. My father’s death simply accelerated my entry into politics,” he says. He says that the Congress does give chance to young faces and rejected criticism that the only reason he got a ticket was because of his lineage. Bolstered by their party president Amit Shah’s many visits, the state unit of the BJP has been claiming that it has made inroads into the state with a surge in membership. O Rajagopal during campaign O Rajagopal is its most senior and bankable face, but Sabarinadhan says he is unflustered. “Frankly, if these elections had happened a year ago, the BJP would have had a better chance. There was a fatigue amongst voters that could have helped the BJP then. But in the last one year of BJP’s rule at the centre, people have been watching and weighing their performance. There is disappointment and that will work against them,” he said. But Sabarinadhan says he will steer clear of the regular ‘political’ route of political mudslinging. He evaded all questions on his political opponents, insisting, “All candidates have their view points and politics. My campaign is only about what I can do for Aruvikkara. I have been working with a philanthropic organization and I think my experience there has helped me.” Read-     
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