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Aranmula airport issue tops campaign in Pathanamthitta

Aranmula airport issue tops campaign in Pathanamthitta

Thiruvananthapuram: The proposed green field private airport at Aranmula, issues connected with the famous Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple and pollution caused by quarry operations have turned the April 10 Lok Sabha election scene in Pathanamthitta an interesting one to watch for.

Battle in the constituency is expected to be more fierce and prestigious for ruling UDF, as sitting Congress MP Anto Antony, who won the 2009 polls with a margin of more than one lakh votes defeating CPI-M's K Ananthagopan, is crossing sword with a former Congress leader Peelipose Thomas, the CPI-M supported independent candidate of LDF.

Thomas, who was the DCC President for nearly two decades,resigned after Congress renominated Anto Antony for a second term ignoring his claim for the seat. Seeking to take political mileage out of the 'defection' of Thomas and his political clout in the constituency, CPI(M)came forward to field Thomas as the LDF candidate in the constituency situated in the Central Travancore region.

The controversial Aranmula Airport promoted by Chennai-based KGS group has run into trouble with environment groups headed by noted poet Sugathakumari launching a campaign against it holding that the project was highly detrimental to ecology and environment of the area, considered to be one of the heritage places of state.

Though the airport issue has become a major poll campaign of both LDF and BJP, how far it would effect the poll result was not clear.

Both LDF and BJP have criticised the pro-airport stand of the Congress-led UDF government and Anto Antony.

The approach of various Christian denominations towards the candidate also matters. Thomas, belonged to Mar Thoma Church, which has considerable influence in the assembly segments of Thiruvalla, Aranmula, Ranni, Konni and Adoor.

Though the constituency is considered a stronghold of UDF, assembly elections held in 2011 showed a different indication of voters' preference. Out of the seven assembly segments, UDF could win only four and remaining went in favour of LDF.


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