The UDF candidate speaks about the development issues left unattended by the incumbent MP, about Sabarimala and the solar scam case his name featured in.

Winning Attingal is a challenge I took up for the party UDFs Adoor Prakash to TNM
news Lok Sabha 2019 Friday, April 19, 2019 - 13:33

Somewhere on the road from Kallara to Anad, where it is rows and rows of trees and no high rises on either side of the road, an old man comes to an open jeep, that’s loud with music and hoots. From the top of the jeep, Congress MLA Adoor Prakash, with several garlands of ribbons on him, bends to receive a piece of white cloth from the old man. The thin, skimpily clad octogenarian shouts at the top of his frail voice, ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, and takes you back to the days of India’s freedom struggle and loyal Congressmen laying down lives.

Adoor Prakash is new to this place – Attingal, a constituency that took a Congressman a lot of courage to contest from. The Lok Sabha seat has not been won by the Congress-led UDF in 18 years, remaining famously a strong bastion of the Communists.

“It is a challenge,” says the man who has won the Konni assembly seat for UDF five times in a row. “It is a strong place of the Left and I am aware of the challenges and difficulties that come with it. But when the party gives me a responsibility, I take it. The Congress had won this seat for 20 years at a stretch from 1971. It is after that the LDF clinched the seat and, for whatever reasons, has remained with them. Now I have been given an opportunity to get it back and I strongly believe Attingal will come back to the Congress,” Prakash says, never stopping waving at the men, women and children coming out of their standalone houses and huts, smiling shyly by their gates.

It is a marvel to watch him campaign – he does not show exaggerated emotions or make pretences, but makes sure his eyes reach every person the jeep passes by. He stops when they pass a house where a death has occurred. For the old man who voiced his emotion for his country, Adoor Prakash stopped his vehicle to let the senior citizen have his moment.

There is no denying he is a strong opponent to CPI(M)’s A Sampath who has held the seat comfortably for a decade, and even tripled the vote margin in the last general election. Prakash says he won’t criticise the MP but observes that as a parliament member, Sampath appears to not have paid much attention to the development issues facing the constituency.

“The traffic snarls, for instance. People need hours to get away from the traffic jams in Attingal. Even trains wait for half-an-hour or more, causing the railway gates to be closed for a long time, causing a lot of suffering for the people. He has been an MP for so long, he should have taken care of all this,” Prakash says.

The other opponent is BJP’s Sobha Surendran, whose presence he cannot ignore after the role she played during the Sabarimala row last year – when the Supreme Court verdict allowed all women to enter the famed Ayyappa shrine, and there rose massive protests against the implementation of it. Sobha had made many speeches and led fasts, along with other BJP leaders. The Congress had also taken a stance against the implementation of the SC verdict.

“The UDF took an importance stance, in favour of believers. We had given an affidavit in favour of believers when we were in power before VS Achuthanandan’s government came to power in 2006. They gave another affidavit, contradicting ours, which we again corrected in 2011. But then the LDF came to power again in 2016,” Prakash says.

“The BJP is ruling the country. Instead of playing this drama in the state, they could have taken a decision to overcome the SC verdict. They could have passed a law. But they wanted to take political advantage and played double standards. It is only the UDF that stood with the believers. And for this we were made accused in cases, I too am an accused,” Prakash says, leading the conversation to another case his name had appeared in. The infamous solar scam case where some Congress leaders have been accused of having links with the main accused, Saritha Nair.

“It is a political play – a new trick by the Marxist party to bring down our morale. But in this case, this person (Saritha) had taken away all the money from a retired teacher in my constituency and he came to me for help. As an MLA, I couldn’t ignore it. I called her (Saritha) and I told her if she didn’t return the teacher’s money, I would file a case against her. That’s how my name got dragged into this false case,” he says.

Also read: LDF’s Attingal candidate Sampath stresses on need for democratic secular govt

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