Among the constituencies which will be closely watched as the state of Kerala goes to polls on April 23 for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, is the Pathanamthitta constituency, located in the central Travancore region in the southern part of the state. As far as the CPI(M) led Left Democratic Front (LDF) is concerned, they would like to prove a point in this constituency through their candidate Veena George on whom they have pinned their hopes.
The Pathanamthitta district had managed to grab the eyeballs of people across the country following the devastating floods in August last year as well as the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple, located in the district. The LDF met with support and criticism alike regarding the way in which they managed both the issues.
TNM caught up with Veena George, who is also a sitting MLA of the Aranmula region in Pathanamthitta, while she was busy campaigning in Adoor to find out how the two issues will play out in the elections.
A recent Amicus Curiae report had blamed the LDF government’s faulty dam management as the reason behind the Kerala floods.
Ask Veena about this and she says, "I’m not too bothered about the Amicus Curiae report. We managed to find out the political leanings of the person who prepared the report. It was prepared by a person who had the backing of the Congress party,” she said.
She said that she had stood with the people of Pathanamthitta during and after the floods and that they were, therefore, with her.
“During my campaigning, many mothers had come and told me that I had helped in rescuing their daughters during the floods. So the people of Aranmula know that I was with them during the floods," she said.
Recent surveys and opinion polls done by prominent Malayalam news channels have predicted that Veena George will lose in the coming elections. Reacting to this, she said, “In 2016, various polls had said that the LDF will lose during the 2016 Assembly elections. They even discussed for hours saying that I will lose in Aranmula. But I won with a historic margin in a constituency which was traditionally considered as a UDF stronghold.”
When asked what she will do for the constituency if she is voted to power, Veena said that Pathanamthitta is a constituency where no development has taken place in the last 10 years. “One of my main concerns would be to solve the rubber crisis and change rubber from being a commercial crop to an agricultural crop. I will also ensure that we get a national highway, develop infrastructure and generate employment for the youth.”
Veena George will be up against the UDF’s Anto Antony, who is a two time MP from the constituency as well as BJP’s K Surendran, who was the face of the Sabarimala protests in Kerala. When asked if this is a cause of concern for her, Veena replied with a smile, “They are the ones who are concerned. Not me. They were the ones who took a lot of time to announce a candidate in this constituency. As far as the LDF is concerned, we are confident of winning with a huge margin.”
Watch the full interview here: