Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Anti-incumbency, alliance may upset AIADMK in Uthangarai

As a reserved constituency on the inter-district border between Krishnagiri and Tiruvannamalai, Uthangarai signals a largely indeterminate contest, albeit with signs of an advantage to the DMK.

The constituency has a high proportion of Adi Dravidars, Arunthanthiyars, Kuravars, and its Scheduled Caste population is over 21%, followed by Vanniyars and Vellalars, Muslims and other intermediate castes.

The Congress is contesting under the DMK combine, fielding J.S. Arumugam. There was initial discontent in the local DMK for conceding the constituency to the Congress.

The AIADMK has fielded T.M. Tamilselvan. The constituency had returned the AIADMK for the last two consecutive terms, especially with a whopping majority in the last elections. However, this time, anti-incumbency and the AIADMK’s alliance with the PMK and the BJP is set to turn off the Scheduled Caste and the minority voters.

Uthangarai has a strong presence of the VCK and also the Communists, and the constituency’s caste composition is likely to help the DMK combine. But the rural-suburban disconnect may tell on the vote share of the two parties.

Uthangarai town has a high proportion of Muslim population and educated Scheduled Caste population, who are expected to swing in favour of the DMK. But in rural areas, with a disparate voter base, the contesting symbol is expected to guide the voter choice. With the Congress contesting on its own symbol, the familiarity of the symbol of a Dravidian party may influence voter behaviour at the polling station, it is expected.

Lack of irrigation schemes and shortage of potable water are some of the gnawing issues faced by the constituency. Protests for potable water are a recurrent feature, like its neighbouring Bargur constituency. Uthangarai farmers have long demanded a water harvesting scheme from Paambaru dam with a watershed of 4,000 acres. An irrigation project tapping into the run-off from KRP dam to fill up 34 lakes in Bargur has been a persistent demand of the farmers to beat the drought.

The NH-66 Tindivanam to Krishnagiri road has remained unmotorable causing accidents. The constituency with a strong presence of commerce motivated educational institutions also has a high concentration of farm labourers. Lack of industry has pushed educated youth outward for employment. The SIPCOT in Pochampalli has been set up only in name with no real industries.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 2:41:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/anti-incumbency-alliance-may-upset-aiadmk/article34226597.ece

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