Pathanamthitta: The scramble in BJP for the party ticket in Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency by top state leaders, is reported to be spurred by the hope that Hindu votes can be consolidated in the constituency. In the backdrop of the agitation against entry of women following Supreme Court granting it, and with the championing of protecting traditions of Sabarimala, there is hope in party circles for a swing of votes in its favour.
Capitalizing on it would be a much easier task than Herculean battles in others. Naturally, Pathanamthitta is the most sought-after ticket after Thiruvananthapuram where BJP pins some hopes too.
BJP also banks on the support of NSS, which has, albeit unofficially, rallied behind the resistance against Sabarimala women's entry. Besides, recently NSS has moved further away from the LDF line on the issue and also in the constitution of the government-sponsored renaissance moves with prominence given to SNDP and its general secretary Vellappally Natesan.
The community proportion in the constituency's population has Christians and Hindus on a par, with the latter mainly consisting of Nair community. Therefore, with the backing of NSS, clinching a victory would be easier, with a concerted campaigning.
However, NSS outwardly falls short of an official support to BJP. All it says is that it will back candidates who are believers in god, but believers does not necessarily mean Hindus. In the 2014 election, the BJP candidate was MT Ramesh who finished third with 1,38,954 votres. But Philippose Thomas who finished second, had nearly double that votes.
In two elections after the formation of Pathanamthitta district, NSS support was extended to UDF. And NSS attributes the victory of Anto Antony to this support. If this stance changes, and it supports BJP, it will result in a triangular contest. In such a context, NSS is also apprehensive of that resulting in favour of LDF. If that eventuality looms large, NSS may try to change tack with priority given to preventing an LDF victory.
Among the aspirants for BJP's nomination Alphons Kannanthanam, PS Sreedharan Pilla and K Surendran, only Kannanthanam is a voter in the constituency.