Madurai, Apr 6 UNI | 4 months ago

Sitting MP and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's eldest son M K Azhagiri, now dismissed from the party, is likely to ruin the DMK's chances in the politically-sensitive Madurai Lok Sabha constituency, which would see a toss up between the AIADMK and the CPI(M) in the April 24 elections.

Mr Azhagiri, the former Union Minister, who became the first candidate from the Dravidian party to win the seat in 2009 by a whopping 1.40 lakh margin over P Mohan of CPI(M), however, is not in fray now as he was thrown out of DMK.

But to whom Alagiri, who wields enormous clout in the southern districts, especially in his home turf of Madurai, will support in this election, remains the moot point as he was yet to come out with his strategy, though leaders of several parties met him and sought his support.

One thing which appears certain is that Alagiri, who had been vociferously critical of the DMK leadership, would spoil the chances of the DMK, which has fielded V Velusamy.

In this scenario, the prevailing drinking water problem, power cut and unemployment in the constituency has emerged as the main issue that were expected to determine the outcome of R Gopalakrishnan of AIADMK and B Vikraman of the CPI(M).

Though DMDK's Sivakumar and Bharathi Nachiapapn of Congress were also in the fray, it was expected to be a head-to-head contest between the AIADMK and the CPI(M). Madurai remained as a Congress bastion since 1952.

In the past 15 elections, the constituency elected Congress candidates on eight occasions. As a two-member constituency, Madurai had elected P Kakkan, a veteran freedom fighter and S Balasubramaniam of Indian National Congress in 1952. Again Congress candidates N M R Subbaraman (1962), R V Swaminathan (1971 and 1977), A G Subbaraman (1980 and 1984) and Ram Babu (1989 and 1991) won in the subsequent Lok Sabha polls.

Other than Congress, K T K Thangamani of CPI won in 1957, CPM candidate and veteran Communist stalwart P Ramamurthy held the seat in 1967.

In the 1998 polls, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy became victorious and again the CPM leader P Mohan held the seat twice in 1999 and 2004. The breakaway faction of Congress, the now defunct Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC), led by G K Moopanar had won the seat in 1996.

A mixture of rural, semi-urban and urban areas, Madurai Lok Sabha constituency comprises assembly segments of Madurai South, Madurai North, Madurai Central, Madurai East, Madurai West and Melur, post delimitation.

One of the oldest cities of India, with a history dating back to the Sangam period of the pre-Christian era, Madurai has been in the political limelight and controversies for rampant violation of model code of conduct, distribution of money during the earlier polls.

While Mr Gopalakrishnan has the backing of the ruling AIADMK and has been highlighting various welfare measures launched by the government led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Mr Vikraman was banking on the 48 per cent young voters, women, retail traders, small and marginal farmers, the dalits and minorities, who have accepted the political policies of the CPI(M).

(Posted on 06-04-2014)