THANJAVUR: It seems like the BJP has its eyes set on the Thanjavur Assembly constituency for the ensuing elections. According to sources, the BJP has been bargaining for at least two seats, either Thanjavur or Pattukottai or Tiruvaiyaru, in the district within the AIADMK alliance. This also assumes significance as JP Nadda, BJP national president, is scheduled to address a public meeting in Thanjavur on March 10.
Political circles are surprised about the Thanjavur choice as it has mostly favoured the Dravidian parties, especially the DMK so far. Of the total 16 elections, including by-polls held in Thanjavur until now, the Dravidian majors have won the 12 times. DMK alone won the seat nine times. Most importantly, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi was elected from this very constituency in 1962. That was the second time he was elected to the Assembly after his debut elections in Kulithalai.
In contrast, the BJP’s performance in the constituency so far has been poor. In 2011, the BJP candidate, MS Ramalingam, managed to get only 1,901 votes. In 2016, he improved the margin, and secured 3,806 votes. In the 2019 by-elections, the AIADMK, which was aligned with BJP, lost the seat by getting only 28.66 per cent of the popular votes compared to the DMK candidate’s vote share of 46.37 per cent.
Although the BJP has been nominating booth-level workers and organising meetings for them in the constituency, observers feel the party cannot give a fight to the DMK which is expected to field its candidate soon. Several names are doing the rounds for the probable BJP candidate for Thanjavur, and the most prominent among them was of Karuppu M Muruganandam, one of the State vice-presidents of the party. Meanwhile, many from the AIADMK, too, have filed their applications to contest from the seat.
V Jeevakumar, an advocate from Thanjavur who had unsuccessfully contested from Tiruvaiyaru Assembly constituency once in CPM ticket in 2016, said the city’s culture would not give any space for the ‘politics of polarisation’ practised by the BJP. Going by the history, Thanjavur, which does not have a large Muslim population, has elected SNM Ubayadullah from the DMK, four times into the Assembly. On the other hand, a candidate from the dominant community in the area was voted into power only thrice.