The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded national executive member of Bharatiya Janata Mahila Morcha and Manjeshwaram block panchayat member M.L. Ashwini to contest from the Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency for the upcoming polls. Despite the presence of seasoned contenders from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF), Ms. Ashwini remains undeterred in her quest to bring change and development to Kasaragod.

How do you view your nomination for the elections?

My candidacy has surprised me initially. I think, my work as a block panchayat member has evidently contributed to the party’s decision. I view this opportunity not only as a testament to the commitment of the Narendra Modi government towards women’s empowerment but also as a mandate from the party to bring about positive changes in Kasaragod.

Post-marriage, you shifted from Bengaluru to Kasaragod. How connected are you with the people and district?

My proximity to the people and their issues has facilitated a deep understanding of the local dynamics. Moreover, I was elected from the Kadambar ward and this definitely underscores the effectiveness of grass-roots initiatives in addressing community needs.

What will be your strategy to reach out to voters as the BJP’s presence is limited to a few pockets compared to the LDF and the UDF?

My strategy involves taking the message of progress and development directly to voters, emphasising the need for representation that can effectively address the longstanding issues in the district.

This is your maiden contest in the Lok Sabha, and you are contesting against seasoned candidates from the LDF and the UDF.

While my opponents boast experience, it is essential to acknowledge the prevailing disillusionment among the electorate towards traditional political narratives. Both the LDF and the UDF have fallen short of their promises, leaving the residents yearning for a change. I offer a fresh perspective and a genuine commitment to fulfilling the aspirations of people.

Minorities in the constituency have electorally supported the LDF and the UDF. Do you expect their support for the BJP, especially considering efforts to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)?

The BJP enjoys support from minority groups in Kasaragod, reflecting the inclusive nature of our policies and schemes. The concerns surrounding the CAA are baseless, and efforts to stoke fear are misguided. Our priority is to address the genuine needs and aspirations of every segment of society, irrespective of religious or cultural affiliations.

Are development of health and education sectors crucial issues in this election?

Kasaragod’s lagging health and education sectors underscore the urgent need for comprehensive reforms. My priority is for the establishment of robust healthcare infrastructure, including the setting up of State’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Kasaragod. Similarly, I am committed to enhancing educational opportunities by facilitating the establishment of high-quality institutions.

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