P.S. Suresh Kumar
AIADMK has fielded candidates in six segments
AIADMK is fielding candidates in Thiruvattar and Vilavancode, traditional strongholds of the CPI(M)Kanyakumari enjoys a distinction: the party that wins this seat goes on to form the Government
NAGERCOIL: Kanyakumari district will witness multi-cornered contests as the national as well as the State and regional parties have fielded candidates.
The AIADMK has fielded its candidates in six of the seven Assembly segments, while the DMK has put up three candidates. As the Democratic Progressive Alliance has allotted two seats to the Communist Party of India (Marxists), the CPI(M) has fielded a woman, Leema Rose, in Thiruvattar.
Likewise, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam has fielded seven candidates, including Suba Gayathri at Kanyakumari.
The AIADMK has fielded its candidates in six segments, leaving Nagercoil to the MDMK (Rethina Raj, district secretary of the party). Moreover, it is for the first time that the AIADMK is fielding its candidates in Thiruvattar and Vilavancode, the traditional strongholds of the CPI(M).
Vilavancode returned CPI(M) nominees four times since 1977. It was represented thrice by D. Moni, who has also lost as many times. On the other hand, Thiruvattar returned J. Hemachandran thrice. Both these veterans are no longer in the fray.
However, Pon. Vijaya Raghavan, son of Congress veteran Ponnappa Nadar, has entered the fray as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate in Vilavancode after he was denied Congress ticket. This may affect the prospects of both the AIADMK and the CPI(M).
In Nagercoil, which has a good number of Nadars, Pillaimars and Saliyars (weavers), S. Austin of the MGR AIADMK, as an ally of the DMK, defeated his nearest rival, Moses of the TMC, by 3,662 votes in 2001. Moses himself had been returned from this constituency three times twice as Congress and once as TMC candidate. Austin is entering the fray as Independent, as he too has been denied ticket. He may hurt the prospects of both the MDMK and DMK candidates.
Colachel has an electorate of 48,000 fishermen and 60,000 Christians and Hindu Nadars. K.T. Pachimal, fielded again by the AIADMK, won from this constituency in 2001, defeating the MDMK rival, R. Sampath Chandra, by 15,096 votes. The DMK came third, though the party had won in 1984. Both the DMK and the Congress too won twice each so far.
In Killiyur, Kumaradhas won in 1996 and 2001 on TMC ticket, as Janata Dal nominee in 1991 and Janata Party candidate in 1984. He switched loyalty to the AIADMK in 2003, and has been rewarded with ticket this time.
However, Padmanabhapuram has the distinction of having returned the first ever BJP MLA in the State. C. Velayudham won in 1996, in the midst of the DMK-TMC wave. The seeds for this were sown earlier in 1984, when V. Balachandran, belonging to the Hindu Munnani, won as Independent.
Mr. Velayudhan was, however, defeated by Rajendaraprasad of the AIADMK by 274 votes in the last election.
In Kanyakumari, a keen contest is on the cards between the AIADMK and the DMK. Health Minister N.Thalavai Sundaram takes on the former Minister for Tourism, Suresh Rajan.
Kanyakumari enjoys a distinction: the party that wins this seat goes on to form the Government.
Way back in 1971, DMK candidate Raja Pillai was elected, and the DMK formed the Government. Similarly, it elected AIADMK members in 1977, 1980 and 1984, with the late M.G. Ramachandran forming the Government. Further, the DMK formed the Government after Subramaniya Pillai won the seat in 1989. The cycle continued with the AIADMK winning it in 1991 and 2001, and the DMK wresting it in 1996. The BJP has also fielded its candidates in all the seven segments, treating the region as its strong base.