M. Vincent becomes lone Opposition MLA in district
Kovalam became the sole refuge for the UDF in the capital district when the front’s M. Vincent bucked a popular wave to retain the Assembly seat on Sunday.
Despite facing veteran Janata Dal (Secular) leader Neelalohithadasan Nadar, Mr. Vincent garnered 74,868 votes to win by a margin of 11,562 votes. Dr. Nadar, who has represented the region five times, polled 63,306 votes, while the NDA candidate Vishnupuram Chandrasekharan secured 18,664.
Mr. Vincent had become legislator for the first time when he defeated the then incumbent MLA and Dr. Nadar’s wife Jameela Prakasam in the 2016 Assembly elections by 2,615 votes.
A host of issues, ranging from the Cyclone Ockhi relief efforts and the progress of the Vizhinjam international seaport project to the controversy surrounding the deep-sea fishing agreement, had figured in the parties’ campaigns. However, Mr. Vincent attributed his victory to the personal connect he has with the electorate.
“I have interacted with large sections of the public here on various occasions during the last five years. While certain issues could have also contributed to my victory, nothing could be compared to the personal bond I share with the people in Kovalam,” he said.
Unsparing in criticism
The Congress leader, however, was unsparing in his criticism of the party machinery’s failure in reaching out to the public and creating awareness on the failures of the LDF government. “We have suffered a massive defeat in the State, despite there being no dearth in issues against the ruling front. Our organisational problems resulted in our failure to put our extensive network of party workers to good use,” he conceded.
Being the lone Opposition legislator in the district, Mr. Vincent has his task cut out in highlighting issues. Despite viewing it as a challenge, he expressed optimism that he will be able to spearhead the party’s representation from Thiruvananthapuram in the Assembly.
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