For the first time, former AIADMK Minister Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy is pitted against her uncle and senior DMK leader Veerapandi S. Arumugam from Sankagiri Assembly constituency even as her cousins are slugging it out on the home turf of Veerapandi.
The AIADMK high command has shifted the staunch MGR loyalist from Salem North to Sankagiri in the revised list. She had fought her cousin Rajendiran in Veerapandi segment in the 2006 polls and lost by a narrow margin.
Her cousin S. K. Selvam, also of the AIADMK, who defeated Mr. Arumugam in the 2001 polls, is taking on another cousin and son of Mr. Arumugam, A. Rajendiran, the sitting MLA at Veerapandi.
Simmering feud within the ‘Veerapandi family' has prompted them to stand divided politically too. And since 1972 the rivalry has been nurtured with both Dravidian parties fielding candidates from the family.
The fallout has led to sharp polarisation of villagers “for and against” the family. For them, the bitter electoral battles among blood relatives of the family have become folklore.
Veerapandi has returned the family members eight times after the Congress won the first poll in 1957. Barring twice, in 1977 and 1991, when others were elected, Mr. Arumugam has won four times and Ms. Vijayalakshmi Palanisamy twice, from this segment. Cousins Selvam and Rajendiran shared two wins.
The family, till now, has boasted of two Ministers, four MLAs, two Panchayat Union Chairmen and a couple of village presidents. Victory and defeat is within the family.
It is in this backdrop that the first family from Poolavari village in Veerapandi union will be locked in fierce battles once again.
Keywords: Tamil Nadu assembly polls