TIRUCHY: The Lok Sabha constituencies situated along the banks of the river Cauvery awarded thumping victories to the DMK-led alliance. The Congress, Left parties and the DMK have always had entrenched pockets of support in the region -- late DMK chief M Karunanidhi was born in Thirukuvalai in Nagai district and last represented the Tiruvavur Assembly seat.
However, the margin of victory in some of the segments may have surprised even the party patriarch had he lived to see it. In Karur, the Congress’ S Jothimani felled one of the AIADMK’s tallest leaders M Thambidurai by a margin of well over 4 lakh. The constituency had seen a contentious campaign, with the ruling party going all out to ensure the deputy LS Speaker’s victory. Meanwhile, Jothimani had the support of V Senthil Balaji who had joined DMK as district-in-charge from AMMK, effectively ending TTV Dhinakaran’s party’s hopes in the region.
Similarly, DMK candidates in Perambalur and Thanjavur, Congress candidate in Tiruchy and CPI candidate in Nagapattinam recorded landslide victories, ensuring the opposition party-led alliance’s sweep.
In Tiruchy, former union minister and Congress candidate S Thirunavukkarasar defeated his DMDK opponent V Elangovan by over 4.59 lakh votes, while in Perambalur, IJK chief T R Parivendar, who contested on DMK ticket, defeated the AIADMK’s NR Sivapathi by a margin of 4.03 lakh votes. The impressive promises made by Parivendar, who contested as an NDA candidate in 2014 and lost, could have played a role in garnering such overwhelming support. He had promised to give free education to 300 students from Perambalur at his SRM education institutions every year.
The heart of the delta -- Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai and Nagapattinam -- which had been battered by Cyclone Gaja stood strongly by the DMK alliance, an indication that discontent over relief works had been transferred into votes.
While, in Congress stronghold of Mayiladuthurai, the DMK candidate S Ramalingam defeated AIADMK’s A Asaimani by 2.56 lakh votes, in neighbouring Thanjavur, DMK strongman SS Palanimanickam crushed TMC candidate N R Natarajan, fielded by the AIADMK alliance, by over 3 lakh votes. Nagapattinam, a Communist bastion, has sent CPI’s M Selvarasu to Parliament. Selvarasu defeated AIADMK’s Thazai M Saravanan by around 2 lakh votes.