The campaign for Tuesday’s by-elections to the five Legislative Assembly seats — Cumbum, Ilayankudi, Srivaikuntam, Thondamuthur and Bargur — came to an end on Sunday with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-Congress combine asking voters to repose faith in the governments at the Centre and in the State and the rivals urging the electorate to shun both parties for their inability to check price rise.
Charges of attempts to buy voters ran throughout the campaign. The DMK is contesting from Cumbum, Ilayankudi and Bargur, the Congress from Srivaikuntam and Thondamuthur, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) from Cumbum and Thondamuthur and the Communist Party of India from Srivaikuntam and Bargur. The Desiya Murpokku Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMDK) is contesting from all the five constituencies.
Issues such as the plight of farmers, scarcity of water for irrigation and drinking purposes, slow-paced infrastructure development and the rise in prices of essential commodities dominated the campaign.
The DMK and the Congress campaigned hard, with Union and State Ministers listing the welfare schemes of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and the DMK government in the State. The CPI and CPI (M) attacked both the DMK and the Congress on price rise and the neglect of the poor and the working class. Leaders of the parties pointed out that the UPA raised the fuel price as soon as it re-captured power at the Centre. The BJP took the line of the AIADMK in asserting that the voting machines could be tampered with.
With the AIADMK and itallies, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, boycotting the by-elections on the ground that electronic voting machines could be manipulated, the DMDK wooed the vote-bank of the AIADMK, particularly the supporters of the party founder MGR.
Posters of the DMDK had the picture of its founder-leader Vijayakant on the one side and that of MGR on the other.
The Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam, launched in Coimbatore in February this year, promised a special economic zone in the Coimbatore region to tap the export potential of toddy.