Yercaud byelection will be the first one in the State with NOTA option
A total of 2,40,290 voters will decide the fate of the AIADMK and DMK candidates who are in the fray for the Yercaud Assembly seat, by-election to which will be held on December 4.
The seat fell vacant after the death of C. Perumal of AIADMK, the three-time MLA of the constituency. The constituency is reserved for persons from the Scheduled Tribe (ST) community since it was formed in 1957.
Though there are 11 candidates in the fray, the main contest is between P. Saroja (wife of Perumal) representing the AIADMK, and V. Maran of DMK. The Yercaud voters will also have the ‘None Of The Above’ (NOTA) option to choose. This is the first election in Tamil Nadu to go with the option.
A majority of voters are living in the plains. Of the total of 290 booths in the constituency, only 41 booths are in Yercaud taluk, 167 in Vazhapadi taluk, followed by 58 in Salem taluk and 24 in Attur taluk.
The constituency, which is part of the Kallakurichi (part of Villupuram district) Lok Sabha segment, has a population that is dominated by Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities. Vanniyars account for a sizeable share of the population.
A majority of the people are labourers in coffee estates and in other plantations. Tourism is an up-and-coming industry. Agriculture is the major occupation in Vazhapadi and Attur. Thousands of power and handlooms in the plains are a major source of living for the people of the constituency.
The key issues that would reflect in the by-election are the power crisis that affected a cross-section of the industries, and the increasing prices of farm inputs.
Lack of basic amenities such as roads to the villages atop the Yercaud Hill is another issue of concern. Of the 13 elections held in the constituency, AIADMK had won six times, followed by the DMK which emerged victorious on four occasions and the Indian National Congress three times.