G Babu JayakumarFirst Published : 13 May 2009 04:03:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 13 May 2009 06:56:08 AM IST
CHENNAI: In an eleventh hour swing, DMKs Helen Davidson could emerge victorious from Kanyakumari constituency as many churches in the district have identified her, during Sunday worship, as the candidate for their congregations to vote for.
Though Christian candidates traditionally had an edge in the communally polarised district, BJPs Pon Radhakrishnan intitially had a bright chance of cornering the seat as the Christian vote bank was expected to split into three. Radhakrishnans opponents were three Christians - A V Bellarmine of the CPM, S Austin of the DMDK and Helen Davidson.
But then, the Sunday service in the various churches across the district seemed to have turned voters in favour of the DMK. While most Catholic churches have openly declared Helen Davidson, who is also a Catholic, as their favoured candidate - not the other Catholic, Bellarmine - to clear the doubts of the community, some pentecostal congregations were told by preachers to vote for her.
Besides that, directions were given from many protestant CSI church pulpits, too, to the faithful to favour the candidate of the secular front. A few pastors are said to have named her and some have even identified the DMKs election symbol- the rising sun. Till Sunday, it was thought that since Helen Davidson is a Roman Catholic, the dominant community of CSI Christian Nadars might favour Austin, who is one of them and had been an MLA and Rajya Sabha MP. It was also beleived that the resentment among Congress workers and the general public over the constituency not being allotted to the Congress party could turn voters against the DMK. Since Radhakrishnan, who was MP between 1999 and 2004, had endeared himself to sections of Christians through his soft nature, many felt that a large section of CSI Christians would vote for him.
On earlier occassions, too, candidates from the Christian community had benefitted from such announcements.