KARUR: Sitting AIADMK MP and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, Dr M. Thambidurai, in the sweltering heat of Karur in the middle of the Cauvery delta, finds himself weighed down after a five-year tenure in Delhi, as he faces a tough contest in the April 18 election from here from where he is running again to LS.
The two-time MP from Karur may not find the going smooth this time, as he is pitted against the hard-working, articulate social activist and Congress party candidate Jothimani, who has taken up people’s causes though not lucky to win an election so far. But this time she seems determined, as a candidate handpicked by Congress present Rahul Gandhi and backed by DMK and its allies.
The contest for Karur, with a total electorate of 13,65,802 including 6,96,623 women voters, is multi-cornered with other main contenders being Thangavel of the AMMK led by T.T.V Dhinakaran, Hariharan of actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan headed Makkal Needhi Maiyam (MNM) and Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) candidate Dr Karuppaiah. But it is basically a triangular fight between AIADMK, Congress and AMMK here.
The Karur Lok Sabha constituency comprises six Assembly segments of Aravakkurichi, Karur and Krishnarayapuram (SC) in Karur district, Manapparai in Tiruchy district, Viralimalai (Pudukkottai district) and Vedasandur (Dindigul district). It is thus spread across four districts and today the AIADMK leader and Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami campaigned in Vedansandur area for Dr M Thambidurai, where he drew a huge crowd.
Though Jothimani , the Congress party’s nominee in 2014 polls and who even now faces intra-party resistance from ‘Bank’ Subramanian, who has been vying for a party ticket to contest from Karur, had lost to Dr Thambidurai in 2014 polls by a huge margin and pushed to the fourth place then, the dynamics this time on the ground has considerably changed.
The strong double anti-incumbency that Thambidurai faces, due to the wrong polices of the BJP government at the Centre and the AIADMK government in the State, is turning out to be in favour of Jothimani this time. Moreover, the Congress manifesto has of late become a talking point that she enthusiastically goes around the constituency by foot to assure voters of her best for Karur.
Secondly, with former AIADMK minister, Senthil Balaji, having joined the DMK recently, he is vigorously campaigning against his ‘old political foe’, Dr Thambidurai, which is helping the Congress candidate now. Senthil Balaji is accompanying Ms Jothimani in extensive constituency tour, by van and by foot.
While Dr Thambidurai is facing hostile reception in several villages, Jothimani is able to reach out along with her DMK supporters to assure voters that long pending development projects for Karur like value-adding drumsticks processing unit at Aravakkurichy would be implemented, besides a host of other demands including direct train link between Karur and Chennai. Jothimani is also personally reaching out to farmers, telling them that if elected to LS, she would move the Centre for locating a cold storage facility for agricultural produce in Karur.
“Thambidurai, though popular figure, never made any serious attempt to take up such issues of Karur constituency,” says a retired school teacher from Velliyanai.
However, Thambidurai replies his critics in his poll campaigns, that if re-elected to Lok Sabha, he would “God willing” become a Minister at the Centre if Mr Narendra Modi was again elected to power, and that he would utilise that opportunity to fulfill all the pending projects for Karur constituency.
Even as CM Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy CM O. Pannerselvam campaigned here for Thambidurai, the recent hectic campaign by DMK president, M.K Stalin for the Congress candidate Jothimani evoked a tremendous response. That along with the strong anti-incumbency against the sitting MP, has, as of now, given an edge to Jothimani over her main AIADMK rival....