Puducherry Assembly polls | Three-cornered stiff contest in Panruti

The Panruti Assembly constituency, a known stronghold of the Dravidian parties, where both seem to be on an equal footing with the electorate, is all set for a stiff three-cornered battle, with resentment over the selection of a candidate by the AIADMK kicking up a lot of dust.

In 2016, Satya Panneerselvam of the AIADMK won the seat by defeating her nearest rival, Ponkumar of the DMK, by a margin of 3,128 votes.

T. Velmurugan, president of the Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), who won the seat on a Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) ticket in the 2001 and 2006 election, is now contesting on the DMK symbol.

The AIADMK has fielded Sorathur Rajendran, who lost the seat in the 2006 election by a slender margin of 148 votes. The Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) has fielded former MLA P. Sivakolunthu, who won the seat in the 2011 election.

The DMK-led front is pulling out all the stops to recapture Panruti, especially after its humiliating defeat in the 2016 election. Mr. Velmurugan won his first electoral battle in 2001, defeating V. Ramasamy of the DMK by a margin of 5,048 votes.

Though Mr. Velmurugan retained the seat in 2006, the margin reduced to 148 votes.

His rival, Mr. Rajendran, is also a familiar figure and belongs to the same community. He is banking on the PMK’s sizeable vote bank.

The AIADMK high command’s decision to deny a ticket to the sitting MLA fuelled concerns about vengeful cross-voting in the segment. Mr. Sivakolundhu of the DMDK, an erstwhile ally of the AIADMK front, could have a bearing on the fate of the AIADMK by taking away a portion of the traditional votes.

Panruti is the State’s cashew hub. For long, farmers have been demanding a cluster for cashews and cold storage. Mr. Velmurugan said he would pursue the idea of setting up units for producing feni (beverage extracted from cashew nuts) and jackfruit pulp.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:16:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/puducherry-assembly/puducherry-assembly-polls-three-cornered-stiff-contest-in-panruti/article34227004.ece

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