Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Old rivalry renewed in Ambasamudram Assembly segment

TIRUNELVELI

Ambasamudram, the district’s picturesque Assembly segment, is witnessing the revival of old rivalry in this Assembly elections also as both the AIADMK and the DMK have fielded old faces for the April 6 polls.

Since this Assembly segment, having 2 municipalities – Vickramasingapuram and Ambasamudram - and 7 town panchayats, is the ‘first beneficiary’ of the Papanasam and Manimuthar Dams, farming is the predominant industry in this region while mat weaving is a major activity in Pattamadai. Earthenware making feeds the people in Kooniyoor, Kaarukurichi and Veeravanallur areas.

Besides the reservoirs and Kalakkad – Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, the Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple, Papanasa Swamy Temple in Papanasam, Naarumpoonaatha Swamy Temple in Thiruppudaimarudhur and Kulasekara Alwar Temple in Mannaarkovil and other holy places and the scenic Maanjolai in this region attract tourists round-the-year.

Despite having immense tourism potential, the Ambasamudram Assembly segment is yet to find a place among the major tourism destinations, owing to the poor performance of the MLAs elected to the Assembly from this constituency. And, with the promise of making Ambasamudram a most sought-after tourist destination, candidates of the political parties are wooing the voters now.

The Kaani Tribes living above Papanasam are a neglected lot as they are still waiting for protected drinking water and electricity though the Papanasam and Servalar Dams in their vicinity supply drinking water to three southern districts and the hydroelectric power project generate electricity. Most of the solar power systems supplied to these voiceless people have already broken down to leave these families living in jungles in utter darkness after dusk. Getting community certificate in hassle-free manner is also a challenge for them even today.

The AIADMK has reposed its faith in former Law Minister Esakki Subaya for the April 6 polls while the DMK has fielded former Speaker R. Avudaiyappan.

The easily accessible Mr. Subaya is quite popular in the constituency as the voters gratefully recall the rice and the grocery items, he had supplied to the poor families from all castes during the COVID-19 lockdown. When the electioneering started, it was predicted that it would be cakewalk for him this time also similar to the victory he enjoyed over Mr. Avudaiyappan in 2011.

However, the DMK’s spirited ‘election work’ has significantly bridged the gap between these top two contestants. The DMK men highlight the achievements of Mr. Avudaiyappan in Ambasamudram constituency during his tenure in 1996 and 2006.

As ‘kangaroo court’ continues to haunt the electorate of Cheranmahadevi, the DMK cadres are working overtime to rub it off from their memory in an attempt to regain the voters’ confidence, the people say.

To do away with Mr. Avudaiyappan’s not so healthy relationship with the voters from Nadar community, the party has deployed Ganesh Kumar Adityan, former State deputy secretary of BJP’s farmers’ wing who joined the DMK a year ago, in the areas where the Nadar voters live in a large number in the constituency. Apart from him, former Nanguneri MLA Ernavoor Narayanan is also working in these areas to divert the Nadar voters towards Mr. Avudaiyappan.

“Having tasted two successive defeats in this segment since 2011 after fielding Mr. Avudaiyappan, the DMK has accelerated the electioneering this time. It has started yielding good results as it has narrowed down the gap between him and the AIADMK candidate,” says Surya Xavier, a political analyst.

To neutralise this effect, Mr. Esakki Subaya has roped in ‘Ayya Vazhi’ Sivachandran, a popular devotional singer of Ayya Vaikundasamy, to mobilise support for him.

R. Murugaiah Pandian of the AIADMK who won by a margin of 13,166 votes in 2016 has been denied a ticket owing to health reasons.

The AMMK, with its candidate for this constituency Rani Ranjitham, wife of former Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli City, Velladurai, is likely to make inroads into the electoral fortunes of Esakki Subaya.

“Since Mr. Subaya was with the AMMK for a while and maintains a good rapport with the AMMK office-bearers even now, her candidature is not likely to have adverse impact on his prospects,” hopes a close associate of the candidate.

Despite the wicket being a tough turf for the DMK, the party hopes to taste victory after two successive defeats with the backing of the Congress and the Left parties, which have sizable vote bank in Ambasamudram segment.

“Besides the farmers’ associations, the weaving community has strong association with the Left parties which will brighten the chances of Mr. Avudaiyappan,” Mr. Surya Xavier says.

The electioneering of Mr. Esakki Subaya, who entered the electoral battle with a bang with everyone indicating his success, has mysteriously slowed down for the past few days even as the DMK has accelerated its work to the maximum possible extent. It remains to be seen if it is going to be the hare and tortoise race.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 9:24:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/old-rivalry-renewed-in-ambasamudram-assembly-segment/article34191869.ece

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