Madurai, Apr 14 UNI | 4 months ago

The recent expulsion of M K Azhagiri, sitting MP and DMK patriarch M.Karunanidhi's son 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.

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

He has also not revealed who he would support or the strategy he would adopt despite leaders of several parties approaching him for backing.

But it appears certain is that Alagiri, who had been vociferously critical of the DMK leadership, would spoil the chances of the DMK candidate V Velusamy, political analysts claim.

In this scenario, the prevailing drinking water problem, power cut and unemployment in the constituency have emerged as main issues that were expected to determine the outcome.

Though DMDK's Sivakumar and Bharathi Nachiappan of Congress were also in the fray, it is expected to be a head-to-head contest between R Gopalakrishnan of AIADMK and B Vikraman of the CPI(M).

Madurai was, for most part, 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 Mr.P.Kakkan, a veteran freedom fighter and Mr.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 LS polls.

Other than the Congress, Mr 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 Dr 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 LS 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 and 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.

''The desire of the people is that they want a change and the CPI(M) will give that change as both the AIADMK and the DMK, plagued by intra-party squabbles or sibling rivalry, have failed to address the major problems concerning the people," Mr Vikraman told UNI.

He said his relationship with the people, ally CPI's support, the prevailing drinking water problem, unannounced power cuts and unemployment issue provide him with an advantage.

''About three lakh youth have registered with the employment exchange. Add to this unregistered two to three lakh youths. Their livelihood is at stake as there are no job opportunities for them.

The main issues confronting the people like drinking water problem and power cuts. The AIADMK regime has announced some plans, but had not implemented them. It has not put an end to political atrocities," he added.

He alleged that as a sitting MP Mr Alagiri has not done anything for the people of Madurai. The DMK is already hit by inner-party squabbles. These are all extra plus points for me'', Vikraman said.

Terming the dismissal of Alagiri as an inner-party issue of DMK, he said this would definitely dent the chances of DMK candidate Velusamy, who had been banking on development schemes implemented during then DMK regime that included Mattuthavani integrated bus terminus, central market, flower market trade centre, among other things.

DMK sources, however, claimed that Velusamy's changes were bright. His campaign will get a further boost when our Party chief ''Kalaignar' (as Mr Karunanidhi is addressed by his party cadres) campaigns in the temple town, they added.

(Posted on 14-04-2014)