Sitting Cong MP Faces Uphill Task in Kanchi
Among the seven reserved Lok Sabha seats for the Scheduled Castes in Tamil Nadu, the Kancheepuram constituency is all set to face a tough four-cornered battle among three Dravidian parties — AIADMK, DMK and MDMK - and one national party - Congress. Interestingly, it is one of the handful of seats where a sitting Congress MP is seeking re-election.
Since the last parliamentary elections in 2009, when the constituency was carved under the delimitation exercise of the previous year, the size of the electorate has increased by over 3.8 lakh from 10,60,188 to 14,41,391. Women voters outnumber men by around 4,000. The constituency comprises six Assembly segments, with four ‘general’ seats of Chengalpattu, Thiruporur, Uthiramerur and Kancheepuram and two reserved ones, Cheyyur and Maduranthakam.
In 2009, Kancheepuram - an important historical-political-cultural-religious centre for centuries - witnessed a triangular fight among the Dr E Ramakrishnan (AIADMK), P Viswanathan (Congress) and T Tamilvendan (DMDK). While Viswanathan defeated Ramakrishnan candidate by a narrow margin of a little over 13,000 votes, it was Vijayakant’s man who garnered more than a lakh votes.
Much water has flowed under the bridge since then. Shedding his lonely furrow, DMDK leader Vijayakanth decided to joined hands with the BJP, PMK and MDMK for the 2014 polls and has conceded the seat to Vaiko’s party. MDMK’s Mallai Sathya will clash with AIADMK’s Maragatham Kumaravel, Congress party’s P Viswananthan and DMK’s G Selvam in a four-cornered contest for the reserved segment. The much-acclaimed “Kanchipuram pattu” provides employment to about 80 per cent of the population in the textile town. No wonder then that issues pertaining to weavers such as sale of silk sarees, government incentives, housing and bonus will continue to hold sway in the polls and influence the outcome. A 4,000MW coal-fired ultra-mega thermal power plant project at Cheyyur has come to a standstill, as a PIL filed in the Madras High Court has sought a stay on acquisition of land in seven villages on ECR.