K Surendran is BJP’s candidate for Pathanamthitta, the Kerala Lok Sabha seat in which the Sabarimala temple is located. The seat is one of the closely-watched constituencies in Kerala, which goes to polls on 23 April.
Surendran was at the forefront of the protests against the Sabarimala verdict, which had led to widespread protests in Kerala. This is the key poll issue on which he has campaigned in the district.
The BJP leader had called the protests a golden opportunity, a clear sign the party has consciously leveraged the issue in hopes of finally winning a seat in the state. However, Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad, which has consolidated the dispirited Congress fleet, has affected these hopes a little.
“Sabarimala is a crucial issue for us. There are other development issues like drinking water, but Sabarimala can’t be ignored,” Surendran told NDTV.
According to NDTV, there are 245 police cases registered against him, all of which are related to violence at Sabarimala and attempts to stop entry of women below the age of 50. Surendran has cases in almost all the districts in Kerala, The NewsMinute reported. He was arrested in November 2018 for attempting to enter the temple against police orders.
In his initial affidavit, Surendran had claimed there were only 20 cases against him.
Surendran has previously contested twice from the Kasargode Lok Sabha seat and once from the Manjeswaram assembly seat, but has never won.
In Pathanamthitta, Surendran is up against LDF’s Veena George, an MLA from Aranmula, and UDF’s Anto Antony, a two-time MP from the seat.