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BJP will perform miraculously in Kerala, win several seats in double digit : Anil Antony

An Exclusive Interview with Junior Antony, BJP Candidate for Sabrimala fame Pathanamthitta Parliamentary Seat

Tauqeer Khan

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), looking to make inroads in southern states as part of its strategy to win 400 plus Lok Sabha seats, has named Anil K Antony, the son of Congress veteran AK Antony, as its candidate from Kerala’s Pathanamthitta parliamentary seat. In an exclusive conversation with The Emerging World, the junior Antony said he is confident of winning his Lok Sabha debut election. He claimed that the political sentiment of Kerala, where the BJP has struggled to open its account in previous elections, is turning in favour of the Centre-ruling party.

BJP’s Pathanamthitta candidate Anil Antony speaks to The Emerging World about his plans to transform the constituency, and much more. Pathanamthitta, a Lok Sabha constituency located in southern Kerala, is known for being the constituency of the Sabarimala temple.
It is also one of the constituencies where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to put up a tough fight against the two established players in the state — the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF).
Contesting from here for the BJP, is Anil Antony, who is a national secretary and spokesperson of the party. Anil, the son of former defence minister A K Antony, had joined the BJP from the Congress about a year back, after he was criticised for his stance on the BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While the UDF candidate, Anto Antony, who is the incumbent MP from the Congress, is seeking re-election for the fourth time, the LDF has fielded Thomas Isaac, who was the finance minister of the state from 2016 to 2021.

During the previous election, the BJP, which had put up its state president K Surendran as the candidate, secured a vote share of 28.97 per cent. Anto Antony of the Congress won the seat with 37.11 per cent and CPI(M)’s Veena George secured 32.8 per cent. The BJP is now looking all set to improve upon its 2019 performance and win the seat. The Emerging World Special Correspondent Tauqeer Khan held exclusive discussions with Anil Antony on topics ranging from local, regional and national problems confronting the nation.

Tauqeer Khan : Good day, Mr. Anil Antony. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us today. Let’s start with the current political landscape in Kerala. The BJP’s decision to field you as its candidate in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta parliamentary seat has garnered significant attention. What inspired you to contest from this constituency?

Anil Antony: Thank you for having me, Tauqeer. Contesting from Pathanamthitta holds a special significance for me. This constituency is not only culturally rich but also faces several developmental challenges. I saw an opportunity to contribute positively to the growth and well-being of its people by representing them in the Lok Sabha.

Tauqeer Khan: Pathanamthitta, as you mentioned, is known for its religious significance, particularly with the Sabarimala temple. How do you plan to address the concerns of the constituents, especially regarding issues like infrastructure development and religious tourism?

Anil Antony : Pathanamthitta indeed holds immense religious importance, not only for Sabarimala but also for various other religious sites. My focus is on holistic development, which includes improving infrastructure, promoting religious tourism, and addressing the needs of the people. I plan to work towards enhancing connectivity, modernizing transit points, and tapping into the potential of ecotourism to boost the local economy.

Tauqeer Khan: During our day together, I observed your interactions with various community leaders and voters. What are some of the key issues you have identified from your interactions with the people of Pathanamthitta?

Anil Antony: Interacting with the people of Pathanamthitta has been enlightening. Key issues such as the livelihood of rubber farmers, job creation, and infrastructure development have been repeatedly highlighted. Additionally, concerns regarding economic mismanagement at the state level and the need for accountable governance have resonated strongly with the constituents.

Tauqeer Khan: You’ve mentioned your plans to address the challenges faced by rubber farmers. Could you elaborate on your strategy for the upliftment of this crucial sector?

Anil Antony: Certainly. Rubber farming is a significant aspect of Pathanamthitta’s economy, and its prosperity directly impacts the livelihoods of many. My strategy involves implementing measures for value addition in rubber production, exploring avenues for higher income through specialized rubber products, and advocating for the establishment of an industrial park dedicated to rubber in the region.

Tauqeer Khan: The political dynamics in Kerala are often complex, with strongholds of both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF). How do you perceive the BJP’s prospects in Pathanamthitta, considering the competition from established players?

Anil Antony: While the political landscape in Kerala may be challenging, I am confident in the BJP’s growing presence in Pathanamthitta. Our commitment to inclusive development, coupled with the support of the people, gives us a strong foundation to compete effectively. Moreover, the changing political sentiment in Kerala, as evidenced by our increasing vote share, indicates a positive trajectory for the BJP in this constituency. This time BJP will perform miraculously in Kerala. We are going to win several seats in the state. As for as Pathanamthitta is concerned, I am going to win the election with historic margin. People are now fed up with the politics of falsehood and narrow approach. This time they have decided to side with the politics of development and nation building.

Tauqeer Khan: Lastly, Mr. Anil Antony, what message would you like to convey to the voters of Pathanamthitta as you seek their support in the upcoming election?

Anil Antony: To the people of Pathanamthitta, I extend my sincere gratitude for their support and trust. As your representative, my priority is to work tirelessly for your welfare and the progress of our constituency. I humbly seek your support and urge you to join me in building a brighter future for Pathanamthitta. Together, we can overcome challenges and usher in an era of prosperity and development. Thank you.

Tauqeer Khan: Thank you too, Mr. Anil Antony, for sharing your insights and vision for Pathanamthitta. We wish you the best of luck in the upcoming election.

People want to see Anil Antony as the MP

To gauge the mood on the ground, I made a trip of Sabarimala and adjoining Perumala areas. I
asked a group of women whom they would support in the upcoming election. Initially hesitant to speak because they did not understand English or Hindi, they opened up a bit when I spoke in Tamil.

“All of us are Modi supporters and we will vote for BJP.”
“What’s the problem with Anto Antony, the current MP and Thomas Isaac,” I ask.

“Anto Antony hasn’t done anything significant for us. We don’t have any hopes from Isaac either. PM Modi has done good work. We have benefited from it.”
“Are you all from Pathanamthitta?” I ask.
“Yes. We are from here. We want to see Anil Antony as the MP. We believe he will be able to bring development to our district.”



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