The Congress has fielded former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman in the party’s sitting seat of Alappuzha. Following the unexpected withdrawal of incumbent MP KC Venugopal from the fray the UDF entrusted her with the task of retaining her home constituency. In an interview to Express Principal Correspondent Biju E Paul, Shanimol said the LS polls in Kerala will be an evaluation of the misrule of the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF Government. Excerpts:
Q: Will Rahul Gandhi’s candidature in Wayanad bolster the prospects of the UDF candidates?
A: Definitely. The UDF winning all the 20 seats in Kerala is a possibility. It will boost the morale of the party workers across the state and help increase my victory margin in the constituency.
Q: Alappuzha is a sitting seat of the Congress. What are the targets of the Congress?
A: The UDF is aiming to increase the winning margin of KC Venugopal in Alappuzha in the 2014 election. The constituency has always been favourable to the UDF which won nine times in the last 13 Parliament elections. The wholehearted support of the fishermen and coastal people was the strength of the UDF in the previous polls. We will simply upset the LDF in the election.
Q: Will your delayed entry impact the poll outcome?
A: Like previous elections, the UDF declared its candidates after many rounds of discussions. It doesn’t affect the winnability of the UDF candidates. This time also, the delay happened and we will cover it through a systematic campaign. The organisational structure of the UDF is strong and active.
Q. What is UDF’s main poll plank?
A: Pure politics is the campaign issue. The communal forces had gained an upper hand after the NDA Government led by Narendra Modi came to power at the Centre. Strong resentment is brewing among the public against the Centre. It is dividing people on communal lines. The LDF Government led by Pinarayi Vijayan divided people on issues like Sabarimala. They hurt people’s sentiments through unnecessary provocations.
Q: What is your opinion about the CPM-led LDF Government in the state?
A: The LDF Government is perpetuating criminal politics. The CBI probe into the Ariyil Shukkoor murder case revealed a CPM leader was behind it. It is again proved in the murder of Shuhaib and the murder of Youth Congress activists Sarath Lal and Kripesh at Kalliyot. The people of the state are fed up with the murder politics of the CPM and the election will be a judgement against the misrule of the CPM.
Q: What are the plans for the development of Alappuzha?
A: KC Venugopal had implemented development worth more than Rs 5,000 crore in the past 10 years in the form of roads, bridges, tourism sector and many more for the constituency. I will continue the development projects initiated by Venugopal. The UDF will implement projects to better the living condition of people of coastal areas, fishermen and coir workers.
Q. Will the stance of SNDP Yogam affect your poll prospects?
A: I will not comment about the stance of the SNDP. The UDF is keeping good relations with all organisations, including religious and social, especially SNDP Yogam. So, the members of these outfits will support me.