BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan eyes comeback against Congress in Kanyakumari Lok Sabha bypoll
Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu witnessed polling for Lok Sabha by-election, along with the assembly election in rest of the state on Tuesday. The voting ended at 7pm, and according to latest Election Commission data, the turnout stood at 62.41 per cent.
As many as 13 candidates are contesting the by-election for the seat in which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), backed by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), and the Congress are in a direct faceoff.
The election commission of India (ECI) announced the schedule for the bypolls along with the assembly polls in TN. It was necessitated because of the demise of sitting Kanyakumari MP H Vasanthakumar of the Congress who died of Covid-19 on August 28, 2020.
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Pon Radhakrishnan of the BJP, who won the Kanyakumari seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, has been fielded again by the party. The AIADMK offered the seat to BJP for the bypoll during their seat sharing talks for the legislative assembly election.
His candidature was announced by the BJP on March 6, a day after the party sealed the agreement with AIADMK for 20 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu and the Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat.
The Congress announced the candidature of Vijay Vasanth, actor and son of late MP H Vasanthakumar, on March 13, 2021 along with the list of candidates for the TN assembly elections.
“The CEC (Central Election Committee) has also selected the candidature of Shri V. Vijayakumar @ Vijay Vasanth as party candidate for the ensuing bye-election to the Lok Sabha from 39-Kanniyakumari Parliamentary Constituency,” an order from the party signed by Congress general secretary Mukul Wasnik said.
Notably, Pon Radhakrishnan lost to Vasanthakumar in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections by a wide margin of 259,933 votes. Also, BJP didn’t win a single seat in the 2019 general elections in Tamil Nadu, a trend that they would like to reverse in the bypoll. BJP’s top brass including PM Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah have campaigned actively in Kanyakumari within the past month seeking support for the party. Also, chief minister Palaniswami too campaigned for BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan.