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Can she emulate her father?

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P. Sudhakar

DMK has fielded Aladi Aruna's daughter in Alangulam constituency DMK has fielded Aladi Aruna's daughter in Alangulam Assembly constituency

TIRUNELVELI: Will the daughter step into her father's shoes? The question is being widely asked in Alangulam constituency, where Poongothai Aladi Aruna (Nadar) of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam takes on M. Pandiaraj (Thevar) of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, in a direct contest though five more are in the fray.This constituency, having Nadar, Dalit, Thevar and Yadhava community voters in majority, has elected representatives of the Congress (1962, 1989 and 1991), the AIADMK (1977, 1984 and 2001) and the DMK (1967, 1971 and 1996) on three occasions each and an independent (1957) and Kumari Ananthan's the Gandhi Kamaraj Desiya Congress (1980). Whenever the DMK won the segment, late Aladi Aruna was its candidate.

After his murder on December 31, 2004, Ms. Poongothai Aladi Aruna has been fielded by the DMK, as it is strongly believed that the sympathy wave would win the majority of the hearts of 1,83,235 voters comprising 88,573 men and 94,662 women, despite intra-party rumblings over selection of the candidate.

Being a gynaecologist, Dr. Poongothai, considered as a `ministerial material' by the DMK functionaries here if their party comes back to power, promises that her top priority would be on fortification of all health centres in the constituency - right from health sub-centres to taluk hospital - with all facilities needed for providing basic medical facilities to the people, who have to travel either to Tirunelveli or Tenkasi.

Mr. Pandiaraj assures that he would take steps for the construction of a permanent building for Alangulam taluk office and establishment of a court at Alangulam.

DMK, AIADMK clash in Ambasamudram

The Ambasamudram constituency, with Nadar, Thevar and Dalit voters in large number, is witnessing a tri-corner contest among Murugaiah Pandian of the AIADMK, who is contesting the Assembly election for the fourth time in succession, R. Avudaiyappan of the DMK and A. Narayanan of the Janata Dal (United).

While the Congress won the constituency, consisting 1,62,592 voters, (79,380 men and 83,212 women) five times, the CPI (Marxist) and the AIADMK won the segment three times each. After tasting defeat at the hands of K. Ravi Arunan of the Congress in 1989, Mr. Murugaiah Pandian won the battle of ballots in 1991 when the sympathy wave swept across the nation after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

However in 1996, he lost the battle to Mr. Avudaiyappan, who was defeated by M. Sakthivel Murugan in the 2001 polls. Now, Mr. Murugaiah Pandian and Mr. Avudaiyappan have locked horns again.

If Mr. Narayanan, a Chennai-based businessman from Nadar community, is able to get sizable votes of his community, it may facilitate the victory of the AIADMK candidate, as majority of the Nadars of this constituency had supported the Congress and the DMK candidates in the past.

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