THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In Thiruvananthapuram constituency, which is witnessing a fierce triangular fight, every vote counts. And the political parties who campaigned relentlessly for over a month found an unlikely facilitator on Tuesday, which prompted more voters to the polling booths. Thanks to the alert by the Meteorological Department, many fishermen stayed away from the seas and made a beeline to the booths, despite the long queues.
“There was a serpentine queue at the polling station in St Thomas Higher Secondary School (Poonthura) from the early hours. I had initially gone to the booth to cast my vote, but after seeing the queue, I changed my mind as I had to go for a catch at mid-sea. However, then an announcement was made from the church warning fishermen not to venture to the seas. Following this, we dropped our plan and decided to stay to cast our votes,” said Jesudasan, a fisherman from Poonthura coastal hamlet.
The fishermen community which form a major vote bank in Thiruvananthapuram, from Pozhiyoor to Mariyanad spanning across 53 km, are a decisive factor in the outcome of the results.According to Poonthura ward councillor Peter, the announcement proved to be a blessing in disguise for the political parties.
“The fishermen usually cast their votes in the morning. But this time, since the voter turn out was huge even in the early hours, it forced many to change their minds. But the announcement from the church proved to be helpful to the political parties,” said Peter.Nissa Beevi councillor of Vizhinjam Harbor ward said apart from the rough weather, the intense political fight in the constituency could also have been a contributing factor.“This might be the first time that such a huge turnout was recorded from coastal areas. They are well aware of the crucial battle between the three political fronts,” said Nissa.
Meanwhile, Peter Mathias, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association said the fishermen were well aware of their right to cast their vote and the change it could bring. Varying factors had influenced them to arrive at the polling stations, he said including the impact caused by the GST, hike in fuel prices, depleting fish wealth and the demand for a separate Ministry for Fisheries.