BJP draws a blank in central region

Notwithstanding the aggressive campaign by its top leaders galvanizing support for the party and projecting it as a credible alternative in the State, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) drew a blank in the central region in the Assembly election.

For all its fierce attack on the two main Dravidian parties terming them as “corrupt”, the BJP was simply unable to match their dominance in the State if the poll outcome were any indication. Such was the dismal show of the BJP in the central region that barring one of its nominees, the remaining candidates lost their deposit.

This after a galaxy of top leaders of the national party toured various places in the central region in the run up to the Assembly election feverishly canvassing for the BJP.

The party’s iconic leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew down south to coastal Vedaranyam town in Nagapattinam district as part of his electioneering in Tamil Nadu garnering support for BJP candidates contesting in the central region.

The other BJP star speakers who embarked on high-voltage campaigns were its national president Amit Shah, Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu, Piyush Goyal, Prakash Javadekar and Nirmala Seetharaman. Mr. Amit Shah spoke at two poll meetings organized by the party – one at Tiruchi and the other at Pattukottai in neighbouring Thanjavur district.

The “misrule” of the Dravidian parties and pushing the “development agenda” if the national party were to be given a chance to rule Tamil Nadu was the BJP’s peg in the campaign and it failed to convince the voters.

The BJP, which headed the National Democratic Alliance, had fielded its candidates in 26 Assembly seats across the central region with its ally Indiya Jananayaka Katchi contesting in a few others. Some of the constituencies where the BJP nominees fought included Srirangam, Tiruchi East, Vedaranyam, Kumbakonam, Tiruvarur, Pattukottai, Karur, Mayiladuthurai, Mannargudi, Nagapattinam, Kulithalai, Orathanadu, Thirumayam, Peravurani, Sirkazhi, and Perambalur.

Among all BJP nominees in the central region, the sole candidate of the party who put up a spirited fight was S.K. Vedarathinam who contested from the Vedaranyam Assembly seat.

Although Mr. Vedarathinam – a well known face in Vedaranyam – stood third in the poll battle, he came a close third behind the Congress candidate P.V. Rajendiran – another local strongman in that town. The difference between Mr. Vedarathinam who polled 37,086 votes and Mr. Rajendiran was only 752 votes.

In fact, Mr. Vedarathinam polled the highest number of votes among the BJP candidates and the only one to retain the deposit. The AIADMK’s O.S. Manian scripted a handsome win in Vedaranyam by a sizeable margin of 22,000 votes over Mr. Rajendiran.

The only other BJP candidate who could touch the five-digit mark with respect to number of votes polled in his favour was M. Muruganantham (11,039 votes) who contested from Pattukottai constituency. However, Mr. Muruganantham was way behind the AIADMK candidate (70,631 votes) and the Congress nominee (58,273).

As per Election Commission data, the number of votes polled by the BJP nominees in the central region alone was a little over 1.21 lakh.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 6:14:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/bjp-draws-a-blank-in-central-region/article8628066.ece

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