Caste calculus, political gimmicks or political stand taken by parties on burning issues played no role in the Lok Sabha poll in the Theni constituency, it seems.
Sitting MP and Indian National Congress candidate H.M. Aaron Rashid paid a heavy price for his political gimmicks and the Congress lost its deposit.
His gimmicks – bringing three Central ministers to Theni to wipe out the bad image he earned owing to the inordinate delay in implementing long-pending Central schemes which included Bodi-Madurai broad gauge work – backfired.
Mr. Aaron was not in the race from the beginning, as both R. Parthiban (AIADMK) and Pon. Muthuramalingam (DMK) turned it into to a direct battle between them.
Mr. Aaron’s Mulsim community card did not pay off. Even as Mulsims have a sizable vote bank in Cumbum, Periakulam and Uthamapalayam, it did not help Mr. Aaron’s victory. He garnered 13,745 votes in Cumbum, 13,968 votes in Periakulam, a reserved Assembly segment, and 11,233 votes in Andipatti.
Moreover, the Congress’ calculations on wooing Dalit vote bank too miserably failed.
Voters in Theni severely punished the candidates who tried to hoodwink them and also at the same time abandoned those who stood with them arm-in-arm during the struggle on the highly sensational and burning issues like the Mullai Periyar dam crisis.
The MDMK, which projected itself as a true friend and sole political supporter of farmers in Cumbum valley on the Periyar issue, too suffered a body blow.
Contrary to expectations, K. Azhagusundaram (MDMK) was pushed to the third place, and he lost his deposit. Vaiko’s repeated campaign and his direct involvement on the Periyar issue, including marches and demonstrations, did not convert into votes. In Cumbum, which is directly connected to the dam issue, the MDMK got only 23,567 votes.
In the first round itself, the AIADMK was leading with a big margin of 16,000 votes. In subsequent rounds, the margin between the party candidate and the DMK candidate was growing further.
The DMK could not garner even 50 per cent of the votes gained by the AIADMK in all the six Assembly segments of Theni constituency.