Ramanathapuram Parliamentary constituency will witness a six-cornered between the AIADMK, DMK, Congress, BJP, CPI and the Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in this Lok Sabha election.
AIADMK candidate Anwar Raja, who earlier served as State Minister, is a well-known face in the district. His rival, Mohamed Jaleel of the DMK, on the other hand, has to launch his campaign under the shadow of senior leaders. However, there is a silent wave toward the BJP, whose candidate Kuppuramu is quite popular among the youth and the educated class. CPI candidate Uma Maheswari has to depend on her fortune, while SDPI candidate Noor Jiayavudin is striving hard.
Attacks on fishermen, predominantly from this constituency, by the Lankan Navy is a burning issue that has often been the subject of heated debates in and outside Parliament. More than 300 fishermen have been shot dead by the Lankan navy over the years.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has written several times to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking a solution to the issue. While several political parties and leaders promised to air the issue in Parliament, it was the AIADMK government which was instrumental in arranging for the bilateral talks between India and Sri Lanka in Chennai on January 27. The State government allotted funds to engage a separate lawyer to deal with the drug-smuggling case slapped on five fishermen from Rameswaram, in a Lanka court. Among other issues grappling the constituency are the communal clashes that have hindered developmental activity in this region.
Ramanathapuram once comprised six segments such as Ramanathapuram, Thiruvadanai, Mudukulathur, Thiruchuli (Virudhunagar district), Aranthangi (Pudukottai district) and Paramakudi (reserve). The district was trifurcated in 1984 under CM M G Ramachandran’s regime. Tourists flock to pilgrimage centres like Rameswaram, Thirupullani, Uthrakosamangai, Erwadi and Oriyur church in large numbers every day. The saint-philosopher Vivekananda landed at Kunthukal seashore near Thankatchimadam after attending Chicago conference.