If there is one district in Tamil Nadu which is communally divided and where the Congress and the BJP are strong, it is Kanyakumari. The RSS is well-entrenched here. The Congress and its derivatives have won 13 LS elections since 1957 and the BJP twice. Still, the BJP cannot win a Lok Sabha poll in Kanyakumari in a direct fight with any other mainstream party, for, its prospects are not dependent on its own strength; it is hinged to extraneous factors like having a multi-cornered contest and pre-empting Christian consolidation. BJP candidate Pon Radhakrishnan, who is contesting in the byelection slated for April 6, knows it. He has lost six of the LS polls. The 1999 poll was an aberration in which he made inroads into Christian vote bank and polled 50.2% votes. In all other elections, he has polled 35-37%. Even when he won in 2014, he got 37.6% votes. The presence of too many players in the fray – the Congress, DMK, AIADMK, CPM and AAP – and the resultant split in Christian votes helped Radhakrishnan in 2014. Also, the Church was not vehemently opposing him. When fisherfolk and some priests opposed his entry into certain fishing hamlets, Bishop Edward Rajan, who has 120 churches under his control, went to Radhakrishnan’s rescue and campaigned for him. All that is history now. With no Church by his side, he lost the 2019 polls. Coastal people have a grouse that he did not help when Cyclone Ockhi struck in 2017, claiming 162 lives. Fishermen are angry over the rising fuel prices.