Traditionally, the southern region of the State is considered to be the stronghold of the Congress. But the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) this time had received more applications for seats in the northern region from aspirants who wished to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
However, senior leaders were sceptical about reading too much into these figures and infer any geographic change in support base of the party.
According to data sourced from a senior TNCC leader, the party received a total of 842 applications for the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.
Fourteen constituencies conventionally considered to be part of the northern region of the State had an average of 26 applications.
This included strong numbers of 36, 29 and 38 in the three reserved constituencies of Villupuram, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.
Sriperumbudur received the highest applications among unreserved seats at 36 and Cuddalore the lowest at 13.
In comparison, the 10 seats in the southern region clocked an average of 21 with five major constituencies of Sivagangai, Madurai, Theni, Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram clocking below 18 applications each. The saving grace in the south was Kanyakumari which registered the highest number at 41.
In the constituencies of the central region, the average application number was less than eighteen.
Senior leaders attributed the trend to one major reason. “Many opt out of filing applications for the southern constituencies as we have party stalwarts like P. Chidambaram contesting from there,” said a former Member of Parliament.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha election five of the eight successful candidates of the Congress were from the southern constituencies.
Also, a senior executive committee member said Dalit population being the highest in the northern districts, the three reserved seats in the region always saw high number of aspirants.
“Most parties do not consider Dalits for unreserved constituencies. Therefore, their applications are crowded in the reserved seats. Also, as Congress contested two seats in the north region and won them in 2009, the expectations are higher this time despite no alliance shaping up,” he said and added that the support base of the party was still in the south.