Srirangam tailor-made for Jayalalithaa

By deciding to fight from the Srirangam Assembly constituency, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader Jayalalithaa seems to play safe.

“Srirangam being a traditional stronghold of the AIADMK, the support for Ms. Jayalalithaa is bound to be overwhelming,” say jubilant party leaders and cadre.

An AIADMK bastion, this seat had returned AIADMK candidates six times since late MGR launched the party. The constituency returned Congress candidates in the 1957, 1962 and 1967 elections. Jothi Venkatachalam, veteran Congress leader, who was a Minister in the Kamaraj Cabinet in 1962 and 1963 and former Governor of Kerala, won this seat in the 1971 election on the Congress (Old) ticket.

When AIADMK jumped into electoral fray for the first time after its launch in 1977, R. Soundararajan, actor and confidant of late MGR, was elected from this seat. He went on to become a Minister in the MGR Cabinet. He retained the seat in the 1980 and 1984 elections too.

With DMK support, Janata Party candidate Y. Venkateswara Dikshithar was elected from here in 1989, when the AIADMK suffered a split after the demise of MGR. K. P. Krishnan of the AIADMK emerged victorious here in the 1991 elections and he was made the Agriculture Minister in the first Jayalalithaa Cabinet. In the 1996 elections, the DMK won this seat for the first time. However, the AIADMK bounced back in the 2001 elections, when K. K. Balasubramanian emerged victorious defeating the DMK supported BJP candidate. He served as a Minister in the Jayalalithaa cabinet for a few initial years.

In the last elections, M. Paranjothi of the AIADMK scored a comfortable win over Jerome Arokyaraj, urban district president of the Congress, backed by the DMK, by a margin of over 10,900 votes.

The influence the AIADMK wields in Srirangam is such that even in the 2009 parliamentary elections, the party's victory was determined by the voters in this Assembly segment. While the Congress candidate Sarubala Tondaiman managed leads in all the other five segments, AIADMK candidate P. Kumar got a substantial lead of 20,182 votes in the Srirangam segment alone, which effectively wiped out the leads secured by Ms. Tondaiman in all the other five segments.

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 5:32:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/Srirangam-tailor-made-for-Jayalalithaa/article14949806.ece

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