VILLUPURAM: With the campaign ahead of the Assembly election entering the last lap, DMDK founder-leader and the chief ministerial candidate of the Third Front, Vijayakant, has begun campaign at his own seat, Ulundurpet, in right earnest from Monday.
He has so far been touring across the State, campaigning for the candidates of his party and alliance partners; but now, sending apparently trouble from the seat, he has decided to concentrate on his own electoral battle.
According to sources, Vijayakant and his allies initially believed that he can win from Ulundurpet comfortably, banking on his star power and also on votes from dissidents from the other parties. If sources are to be believed, ‘Captain’ has a difficult in hand at this time, with the leading parties putting up a strong fight. The votes thus are being split at least four ways if not more.
When there were clear indications that Vijayakant will be contesting from here, the DMK took back the seat that it had initially allotted to ally, MMK, and put up its own candidate. And after his candidature became official, the PMK changed the candidate to field a loyalist of its founder, S Ramadoss, advocate K Balu.
Balu’s entry has altered the equation drastically, said sources. Since then, the PMK cadre has been working extra hard to garner as many Vanniyar votes as possible, the community that has a good presence in the constituency. There is a sizeable number of Muslim votes as well, most of which is expected to go to the DMK-led alliance that has on board the two leading Islamist parties, IUML and MMK.
The star campaigner of the DMDK, Vijayakant’s wife Premalatha, has been campaigning across Ulundurpet since Friday, but worryingly for the party, the turnout has remained poor, sources said. The response was poorer for the campaigns by its alliance partners except VCK leader Thirumavalavan.
Her brother and the youth wing leader or the party, LK Sudheesh, has been camping at Ulundurpet to monitor the campaign and canvassing, but the party leadership are reportedly concerned that it may not be enough to secure a victory. This has brought Vijayakant himself to the field. After beginning his full-fledged campaign on Monday, he is expected to travel the nook and cover of the constituency.
These developments have made the DMDK become dependent upon the Dalit outfit, VCK, which has considerably influence on the Dalit community here, which is almost as strong as the VCK. The party cadre are waiting for VCK leader Thirumavalavan to begin campaign across the constituency on Tuesday.
Polls down the years
In the 14 elections that were held at Ulundurpet, DMK has won six times, AIADMK four and Congress thrice. The now defunct Swatantra party has won once.
in AIADMK alliance
in DMK alliance