VCK Facing a Litmus Test in Chidambaram LS Constituency
In a constituency, where caste factor plays a decisive factor, pro-Dalit outfit Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi is facing an acid test to retain Chidambaram (SC) seat amid challenge by ruling AIADMK and PMK to upset its apple cart in the April 24 polls.
The temple town of Chidambaram, which is home to the ancient Nataraja Temple and Annamalai University, one of the oldest universities in the state, has displayed largely a support base of DMK, which is indicative of the poll trend in the last four Lok Sabha elections.
VCK's founder Thirumavalavan is seeking second successive term from this constituency and banking on the support of Dalits and his party's major ally M Karunanidhi-led DMK.
S Ramadoss-led PMK, which enjoys vast clout among Vanniyars, who also constitute a sizeable section of electorate in this reserved constituency, suffered a major jolt when electoral authorities rejected the nomination of its candiate K I Manirathnam, a last minute defector from Congress.
However, V Sudha, wife of Manirathnam, who had filed her candidature as 'dummy' candidate, has now become the official contestant of PMK, which is part of the six-party BJP-led grand alliance.
Despite setback on its failure to field Manirathnam, who is known among people for his philanthropic activities, PMK still hopes that Sudha would fare well with the support of BJP allies and egging on its own support base.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK, which has been fighting the election on an aggressive note eyeing to win all 39 seats in the state is making all efforts to ensure the victory of M Chandrakasi.
AIADMK hopes to wrest this constituency from VCK as the electorate would lean towards the party on the basis of the state government's performance.
AIADMK had won the Chidambaram Lok Sabha seat in 1977, but in the later elections, success has been eluding it.
Congress, which denied ticket to Manirathnam, has nominated P Vallalperuman, a three-time MP from this constituency in 1984, 1989 and 1991.
Going by the electoral history of Tamil Nadu over the past two decades, Congress has not been able to win seats when it fought elections without allies.
The Sonia Gandhi-led party is now isolated in Tamil Nadu as none of the major Dravidian parties has taken it on board and is fighting the polls alone.
Chidambaram (SC) constituency has six Assembly segments ? Kunnam, Bhuvanagiri, Kattumannarkoil (SC), Chidambaram, Ariyalur and Jayamkondam. They are held by DMK, AIADMK, AIADMK, CPI (M), AIADMK and PMK respectively.
As VCK, PMK and AIADMK are putting up a tough fight, the "Chidambara Rahasiyam" (the secret of Chidambaram-- a belief among the Hindus that a secret message is conveyed through Lord Shiva's shrine in Chidambaram) on who will win will be known only on May 16, when votes will be taken up for counting.