T.R.Baalu, Mani Shankar Aiyar, M.Thambidurai, and Thol Thirumavalavan are some of the prominent faces in the fray

With the seven Lok Sabha constituencies spread over the eight central districts of the State poised to witness a multi-cornered contest after a gap of two decades; the enthusiasm among voters is quite palpable. While Tiruchi Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a six-cornered contest, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam (Reserved) constituencies are witnessing five-cornered contests and it’s a four-cornered contest in Mayiladuthurai, Perambalur, Chidambaram (Reserved) and Karur constituencies.

The candidates of recognised national and regional parties such as Bahujan Samaj Party are also in the field in a few constituencies, but they are not serious contenders.

The last time the State witnessed multi-cornered contest was in 1996 general elections when the AIADMK- Congress alliance, and the DMK-led alliance which included the Tamil Maanila Congress and Communist Party of India, and the MDMK , CPI(M), and Janata Dal alliance fought the elections. The PMK and the BJP went alone in the election.

The 1998 general elections witnessed a four-cornered contest with the AIADMK alliance (comprising PMK, BJP, MDMK) on the one hand, the DMK alliance (DMK, TMC and CPI) on the other, and the Congress and the CPI (M) contesting on their own.

From 1977 to 1991 elections and again in the last three elections held in 1999, 2004 and 2009, it was a direct fight between the AIADMK-led alliance and the DMK led combine.

The senior leaders in the fray in the central region are former Union Ministers T.R.Baalu (DMK) in Thanjavur, Mani Shankar Aiyar (Congress) in Mayiladuthurai, and M.Thambidurai (AIADMK) in Karur, national secretary of Mahila Congress S.Jothimani (Congress) in Karur, and Thol Thirumavalavan (VCK) in Chidambaram seat. A section of voters welcome the decision of the parties to go alone in the elections. This will help the parties to gauge their strength and weakness, says M.Shaikh Abdullah, cadre of Aam Admi Party, adding that it will also enable voters to exercise their franchise in support of their favourite parties, without the alliance compulsion.

However, M.Maheswaran, a consumer activist of Subramaniapuram in Tiruchi city, is of the view that the presence of candidates from different parties will only confuse the voters, particularly the unlettered and those from the rural areas.

Moreover, all political parties expect the multi-cornered contest to work to their favour.

“With all major parties suffering from one allegation or the other, candidates of parties that have a clear image stand a good chance,” says K.Ravi, a senior citizen.

Two Assembly segments in Pudukottai district fall in Sivaganga constituency, where five cornered contest is witnessed.

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