Chennai: The mango district of Salem has become a hotbed of political activity as Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has brought his home district into the state’s political map by coming out with various schemes and taking serious efforts to guard his home turf against rival DMK’s invasion.
Palaniswami, who still holds on to the post of Salem district secretary, has come out with numerous measures for his home district, especially his constituency Edappadi, from where he is certain to seek re-election.
The Chief Minister is carefully nurturing his constituency ensuring that it gets new schemes and projects in every department. He himself announced the desilting and renovation of the Mettur Kizhakkukarai canal at a cost of Rs 49 crore at Edappadi, besides restoration of eight lakes in Salem. Even when it comes to new police stations and vehicles, Salem got priority getting three police stations and 22 police vehicles.
However, Leader of Opposition M.K. Stalin is making forays into the steel city with a view to rebuilding his party in the area after a rout in the 2016 Assembly elections, which came after the demise of party’s regional satrap ‘Veerapandi’ S. Arumugam. Stalin chose to lead the party’s human chain protest from Salem instead of capital Chennai and he had also planned to inspect the Kacharayankuttai lake desilted by his party men in Palaniswami’s constituency.
With both leaders making frequent visits to Salem, the desilting of a water body in Edappadi triggered a tussle between the two parties and finally led to Stalin’s arrest on his way to Salem.
Although the DMK desilted several temple tanks and lakes, the party’s venture in Palaniswami’s constituency turned out to be too sensitive for the ruling party since the Chief Minister is zealously guarding the seat. He becomes the first Chief Minister who is also holding a district secretary post.
Interestingly, the main rival for Palaniswami in his seat in the 2016 Assembly election was PMK, which pushed the DMK to third place. So, the Chief Minister’s will have to keep both the parties at bay, if he wants to retain the seat.
The DMK obtained a single seat getting 7,82,004 votes in the 11 seats while PMK secured 3,01,844 votes in the district.
The PMK had crossed 20 per cent votes in three seats— Edappadi, Omalur and Mettur— and it could win a few seats in the district if it cuts into the votes of the two major parties....