V. Venkatasubramanian

PMK, AIADMK fighting it out in Kancheepuram

No party is raising the Sankararaman murder case and arrest of Kanchi AcharyasFor DMK, Kancheepuram acquires significance because it is birthplace of its founder C.N. Annadurai

KANCHEEPURAM: Perhaps because of its proximity to Chennai, Kancheepuram district has acquired special significance. In effect, even the airport comes under the Kancheepuram limits. The district has nine Assembly constituencies, three of which are `Reserved' seats.

The contest for six general constituencies in Kancheepuram district, fought between the traditional political rivals DMK and AIADMK in a majority of the seats till 1996 polls, has now been restricted to two seats from three in the last Assembly elections, thanks to the entry of caste-based political parties/outfits into the fray.

Prior to 2001, the DMK and the AIADMK locked horns in five out of six general constituencies in 1996 elections, in four segments in 1991 and in five constituencies in 1984 elections when the contest was fought on general political plank.

In 1989, the AIADMK witnessed a split and the two factions led by Janaki Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa - crossed swords between themselves.

In 2001, the DMK had a direct fight with the AIADMK in the Kancheepuram, Uthiramerur and Madurantakam constituencies.

Now with a slight change in the composition of the alliances, the direct fight between the archrivals in general segments had been restricted to Uthiramerur and Alandur.

Further, sharing of seats in the DMK-led front has also sprung a surprise this time with DMK contesting in only three (Uthiramerur - former MLA, K. Sundar; Alandur - T.M. Anbarasan and Tambaram - S.R. Raja) out of six general constituencies, allotting two seats to the PMK (Chengalpattu - sitting MLA, K. Arumugham and Kancheepuram - Sakthi Kamalammal), and one to the Congress (Madurantakam - Dr. Gayathri Devi).

On the other hand, the AIADMK has chosen to field its candidates in five constituencies (Alandur - sitting MLA B. Valarmathi; Uthiramerur - sitting MLA V. Somasundaram; Kancheepuram - sitting MLA Mythili Thirunavukkarasu; Madurantakam - K. Appadurai and Chengalpattu - S. Arumugham), leaving just one seat to its new ally - the MDMK (Tambaram - K. Somu).

Reserved seats

With regard to reserved constituencies, the AIADMK has reverted to its earlier strategy of fielding its own candidates in two out of three reserve segments, a practice that was in vogue till the 1996 elections.

On the other hand, the DMK, which had always fielded its own candidates in all the three reserved segments - Acharapakkam, Tiruporur and Sriperumbudur - till the last Assembly elections, has decided to put up a fight in Acharapakkam constituency (Sankari Narayanan) only.

Tiruporur was allotted to the PMK (D. Moorthy) and Sriperumbudur to the Congress (D. Yasodha).

The AIADMK, which retained Tiruporur and allotted Acharapakkam to the PMK and Sriperumbudur to the Tamil Maanila Congress in 2001 elections, has now fielded its own candidates in Acharapakkam (Saraswathi Muthukrishnan) and Tiruporur (M. Dhanapal). The Sriperumbudur segment has been allotted to the alliance partner - Dalit Panthers of India (K. Ilamaran).

The Desiya Munnetra Dravida Kazhagam, floated by the actor-turned politician Vijayakant, has filed its candidates in all the nine constituencies and the BJP is testing the waters in five general segments and in one reserved constituency.

Significant for DMK

For the DMK, Kancheepuram acquires significance because it is the birthplace of its founder C.N. Annadurai.

The temple town of Kancheepuram shot into national focus because of the Sankararaman murder case and the arrest of the two Kanchi Sankaracharyas. But that is not an issue now and none of the parties or candidates is even raising the topic.

The nine Assembly constituencies in Kancheepuram district have a total of 26,91,955 voters of whom 13,48,932 are women and 13,43,023 are men.