It is a homecoming of sorts for Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, as he seeks to enter the State Assembly for a record 12th time, this time from his native town of Tiruvarur.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president has chosen the Tiruvarur Assembly constituency not only because of his affinity to the town – the seat has been de-reserved after decades of being earmarked for Scheduled Caste candidates – but also because his winning prospects are seen to be better here than the DMK's traditional strongholds in Chennai.
Mr. Karunanidhi has contested 11 times in the Assembly polls since 1957 and won all of them. During his present tenure that began in 2006, in his fifth term as Chief Minister, he has focussed on Tiruvarur. It was during his earlier stint at the helm that Tiruvarur district was carved out Thanjavur and Nagapattinam districts in 1997.
In recent years, Tiruvarur has got a government medical college, a Central University and infrastructure development projects such as cement roads.
The district got a government polytechnic at Korkai near Thiruthuraipoondi.
In the last Assembly election in 2006, DMK candidate and now Dairy Development Minister U. Mathivanan won in Tiruvarur with a huge margin of 28,000 votes, defeating his nearest AIADMK rival. DMK candidates emerged victorious here in 1996 and 2001 also.
Earlier, since 1962, the CPI (M) won the seat five times in the Assembly elections.
On Mr. Karunanidhi's decision to enter the electoral fray from Tiruvarur, S.Ranganathan, secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers' Welfare Association and a resident of Mannargudi, said the DMK leader could not seen as the candidate of one party, but as one of the country's senior-most politicians. We welcome his move to contest from Tiruvarur, his native place.”
“We will ensure that he wins with the largest margin of votes in the entire State,” said Mr. Mathivanan.
The only negative point for the DMK president is that he may not get the votes of Communist sympathisers this time as they are not in the DMK camp. Tiruvarur has a strong Left presence.
Born at Thirukuvalai, now in Nagapattinam district, Mr. Karunanidhi lived at Tiruvarur and had his schooling there. He started his public life in Tiruvarur by participating in agitations. He frequently recalls his childhood days in Tiruvarur and Thanjavur whenever he addresses meetings here. His relatives live in Tiruvarur town and his mother's memorial is at nearby Kattur. He made it a point to visit this samadhi and his house at Thirukuvalai whenever he won the elections and was elected Chief Minister.
Mr. Karunanidhi first contested for the Assembly in Kulithalai in 1957. Then he moved to Thanjavur in 1962, contested from Saidapet in 1967 and 1971, from Annanagar in 1977 and 1980, from Harbour in 1989 and 1991, and from Chepauk in 1996, 2001 and 2006.