As a first-time voter hailing from Pathanamthitta, the Kerala district which grabbed national attention after Sabarimala issue, 20-year-old Anandhakrishnan MS Vallicode is clear about one thing - those who hail communalism should not win in the polls.
Speaking to TNM, Anandhakrishnan, a second-year IMSc student of Central Universty of Tamil Nadu, said that women’s entry into Sabarimala temple is not the real issue which the constituency faces.
“Anyone can easily get votes citing Sabarimala issue. But this should not be the focus. There are lot of developmental problems here, especially in the backdrop of the floods. That is what needs to be addressed,” Anandhakrishnan urges.
He hopes that people in the constituency will cast their votes based on how well the candidates can address the real issues faced by residents. “As a resident of Pathanamthitta, I want people to choose representatives who will work for the development of the constituency and not those who ask votes in the name of religion, god or communalism. What will they have to offer for the development of the region once they become members of Parliament?” Anandhakrishnan argues.
Anandhakrishnan says that he was impressed by the LDF candidate Veena George’s work during the Kerala floods. “She has also been working for the development of the people in the region as an MLA. Also, by fielding a woman candidate, the Left has shown the importance they give to equal representation.”
Veena George, a former journalist, is the sitting MLA of Aranmula Assembly constituency in Pathanamthitta district. In 2016 Assembly elections, she had contested as a Left-backed independent candidate. This time, Veena is contesting under the party symbol. She is contesting against two strong contenders for the seat from UDF and NDA. K Surendran, a BJP leader who had participated in the protests against women’s entry into Sabarimala, is NDA’s candidate. The UDF has fielded sitting MP from the constituency Anto Antony.
Expressing concern over the communalism fuelled incidents in the country, Anandhakrishnan says that parties which oppose fascist forces should be supported. “I feel that the country has lost its peace. It seems that political parties will only get vote if they instil communalism or make communal statements. This is dangerous and we should support parties which strongly oppose these communal forces,” he urges.
Anandhakrishnan will be travelling to his hometown to cast his vote on April 23 when Kerala goes to polls this general election.