Strong Mudaliyar Candidate Could Upset DMK Applecart
After the initial disappointment and rage over the DMK high command for allowing an IUML candidate to contest from the Vellore constituency and fielding a party novice for Arakkonam, DMK cadre are slowly getting back into poll mode. They are also keeping their fingers crossed on how the equation would change, when other parties such as BJP and Congress field stronger candidates from the Mudaliyar community, in both the constituencies, that could tilt the game.
Already the AIADMK has fielded advocate B Senguttuvan, a Mudaliyar candidate in Vellore, while the DMK has fielded advocate N R Elango, also from the same community for the Arakkonam constituency. Both the constituencies have strong presence of Mudaliyars, who have been deciding the prospects of winning for candidates in the past elections. Muslims, Vanniyars and Dalits also play a critical role in caste dynamics.
Fielding of a strong Mudaliyar candidate in Vellore by BJP for example, will help the Muslim candidate Abdul Rahman (who has the backing of DMK) while eating into the vote bank of AIADMK. The names that are doing the rounds here include former MP of Vellore A C Shanmugam being considered by the BJP, which wants to cash in on the sympathy wave due to the murders of Arvind Reddy and Vellaiappan. If Congress fields another strong Mudaliyar candidate for Arakkonam, it may spoil the winning chances of the DMK candidate Elango. The name of the Sholinghur strongman A M Velu is doing the rounds here
“It is too early to speculate about the stand of Congress,” said a DMK senior here admitting. “If Congress fields strong Mudaliyar candidates, the damage could be substantial,” the source added. Arakkonam has elected many Congress candidates, most of whom belonged to the Mudaliyar community. But they had won with the alliance support of the DMK or the AIADMK all along.
The Arakkonam constituency has a diverse presence of many communities such as Naidus (in Pallipattu assembly segment), Mudaliyars in Tiruthani and Sholinghur segments, Vanniyars and Muslims in Arcot and Ranipet segments and Dalits in Arakkonam. The Mudaliyars of Sholinghur have been holding the key for the winning candidate.
While Elango is the only Mudaliyar candidate so far in Arakkonam, the other two from Vanniyar community (AIADMK candidate Hari and PMK candidate R Velu), a second Mudaliyar candidate could play the spoil sport for the DMK. Similarly, a second Mudaliyar candidate for Vellore could damage the prospects for the AIADMK in Vellore.
“This is the first time Congress is going to polls alone. We had only allowed the Dravidian parties to make use of our traditional vote bank in the name of alliance factors. This time we can put up a stiff fight,” noted a Congress functionary here.