DMK, AIADMK woo local leaders, caste groups

Even as the Tiruchi and Karur Lok Sabha constituencies are witnessing close contests, Tiruchi district has witnessed quite a few political defections as political parties try to garner as much support as possible in the run up to the Lok Sabha election.

Two former AIADMK Ministers K. Ponnusamy and N. Nallusamy from the district have returned to the party after being in political wilderness for sometime.

Mr. Ponnusamy, who on from the erstwhile Marungapuri Assembly constituency in 1989 and 1991 on AIADMK ticket, is considered to have pockets of influence in the Manapparai-Marungapuri region falling under the Karur Lok Sabha constituency, where familiar foes M. Thambidurai of AIADMK and M. Chinnasamy of the DMK are contesting.

Mr. Ponnusamy, a former Minister, joined the DMDK a few years ago and later the DMK. He tested his popularity by contesting as an Independent in Manapparai (the Marungapuri constituency was abolished under delimitation) in the 2011 election after the seat was allotted to the Congress in the DMK-led alliance.

Mr. Ponnusamy, who hoped to get a DMK ticket in the election, contested the seat after resigning from the party and polled about 52,000 votes to finish runner-up behind R. Chandrasekar of the AIADMK. Subha Somu of the Congress was pushed to the third position.

In an apparent move to counter any advantage that he may bring in, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has won over V.A. Chelliah, former AIADMK MLA of Marungapuri. Mr. Chelliah joined the DMK here last week in the presence of party president M. Karunanidhi.

Mr. Chelliah had won from Marungapuri on an AIADMK ticket in the 2001 elections by defeating M. Senguttuvan, former DMK Minister, by a margin of about 25,000 votes. Interestingly, Mr. Senguttuvan joined the AIADMK last year claiming that he was being neglected in the DMK.

Both Mr. Ponnusamy and Mr. Chelliah have started canvassing support for the respective parties. It remains to be seen whether the defections at the eleventh hour would help the respective parties.

The DMK has managed to get the support of Veera Mutharaiyar Sangam, essentially a youth group representing the dominant Mutharaiyar community in Tiruchi district. The sangam pledged its support to the DMK at an election meeting addressed by Mr. Karunanidhi here last week.

The DMK move is widely seen as an attempt to cause a split in the Mutharaiyar vote bank as the Tamil Nadu Mutharaiyar Munnetra Sangam led by R. Viswanathan has already extended support to the AIADMK.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 9:52:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/dmk-aiadmk-woo-local-leaders-caste-groups/article5915546.ece

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