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Tuesday, October 16, 2001

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Sisters-in-law fight it out

By P. V. V. Murthi

VELLORE, OCT. 15. Will the sitting Walajapet municipal chairperson, Mrs. Rajarajeswari, retain her post? This is the question on the minds of the voters in the municipality, reserved for women, as she is facing a tough fight from her sister-in-law, Mrs. T. M. Sukanya of the AIADMK.

Mrs. Rajarajeswari won the last elections, contesting as the TMC candidate in alliance with the DMK. With the TMC allying with the AIADMK for the October 16 elections, the seat was allotted to the AIADMK much to the disappointment of the sitting chairperson. She resigned from the TMC and joined the Congress which has fielded her.

Mrs. Rajarajeswari is banking on the good work she has done, especially the improvement of the drinking water supply. With the allotment of the seat to the PMK in the DMK alliance, the DMK councillors were not enthusiastic in canvassing support for the PMK candidate, Ms. M. Valliammal and instead, they were supporting Mrs. Rajarajeswari since their wards have been benefited greatly during her tenure. While most of the DMK candidates for the wards were canvassing for themselves and for Mrs. Rajarajeswari, the others refrained from canvassing for anyone for chairperson.

There is also discontent among the DMK cadres over the selection of candidates for various wards, with DMK rebels contesting in at least four wards against the official candidates. On the other hand, the AIADMK candidate is fully backed by the AIADMK and TMC cadres. A split in the DMK votes between the Congress candidate and the PMK candidate may favour the AIADMK. With Mr. J. Hassain supporting Mrs. Rajarajeswari, a keen fight is on the cards between the Congress and the AIADMK.

In Ranipet, where the chairperson's post is reserved for SC women, Mr.`Karai Manikkar' Janakiraman, a DMK activist, has fielded his wife, Mrs. J. Maheswari, as a candidate of the DPI against the official DMK candidate, Ms. P. Mehala. It is believed that the split in the DMK votes may favour the AIADMK candidate, Ms. S. Sargunam, but any consolidation of SC votes in favour of the DPI might affect the AIADMK's chances. Ms. J. Selvi of the Congress is also in the fray.

The Arcot municipality, reserved for women, is also facing a keen fight between AIADMK's Mrs. J. Radhika and NJP's Mrs. Geetha Sundar contesting on the Congress symbol. With the seat having been allotted to the PMK, the DMK cadres were not active in canvassing for the PMK candidate, Ms. V. Sargunam. The voters' disappointment with the present DMK regime was also likely to influence them.

Mr. Sundar, husband of Mrs. Geetha Sundar, has earned a good name among Adi Dravidars by helping them in times of need, and this image is expected to get her considerable votes from the community.

In Gudiyatham, reserved for women, which is going to the poll on October 18, the odds are in favour of the 65-year-old TMC candidate, Mrs. M. G. A. Sulochana, wife of Mr. M. G. Amirthalingam, former municipal chairman and a leading industrialist. The family background and the good name earned by the incumbent chairperson, Mrs. Thilagavathi, who is the candidate's daughter-in-law, are likely to work in favour of Mrs. Sulochana. She is pitted against Ms. T. Puviarasi (DMK), Ms. P. Easwari (Cong) and Ms. S. P. Sankari (CPI-M). Being a working class area, the CPI(M) candidate is expected to put up a tough fight to Mrs. Sulochana. But the AIADMK's support would be a plus point for the TMC.

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