CHENNAI: The electoral history of Tiruttani Assembly constituency in the last 25 years has given the seat a dubious distinction. It is considered ‘unlucky’ by both candidates and political parties since the party whose top leader campaigns in the town loses the seat as well as the government.
An abode of Subramaniya Swamy temple, the town is located close to Andhra Pradesh border. The ‘unlucky’ tag has stuck to the constituency since 1996 when the AIADMK candidate was defeated in the Assembly elections. Then party chief J Jayalalithaa participated in the large public meeting campaigning for the candidate, G Hari. The AIADMK lost Tiruttani as well as the government.
Similarly, in 2001, DMK chief Karunanidhi campaigned in Tiruttani. But, PMK candidate G Raviraj defeated the DMK candidate. The PMK had allied with the AIADMK in this election. The DMK had also lost the government. In 2006, the PMK faced elections allying with the DMK and fought AIADMK candidate G Hari. Both Jayalalithaa and PMK founder Ramadoss campaigned for the alliance in Tiruttani then. Even though the AIADMK defeated the PMK, the party lost the government to the DMK.
The sentiment of ‘unlucky’ seat strengthened further due to defeat of Congress candidates in 2011 and 2016. In both the elections, DMK president MK Stalin campaigned for them. In 2011, M Arunsubramanian of DMDK (AIADMK alliance) defeated the Congress candidate ESS Raman (DMK alliance). In the 2016 election, AIADMK candidate PM Narasimhan won against Congress candidate AG Chidambaram.
According to locals, Karunanidhi last visited the town in 2001 and Jayalalithaa in 2006. “Stalin campaigned in Tiruttani for the 2011 and 2016 elections. In spite of winning 89 seats, the DMK failed to unseat the AIADMK in 2016. The 25-year-old sentiment has indeed rattled the political leaders, although none acknowledged it publicly,” said S Kumavel of Akkaiya Street, in Tiruttani town.
Interestingly, the political parties decision to avoid campaigning in Tiruttani has validated the local’s sentiments. For the ensuing election, Tiruttani DMK candidate S Chandra was introduced at a campaign meeting in Thirunindravur (which falls under Avadi constituency) in which Stalin canvassed votes for him and five other DMK candidates.
Similarly, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam sought votes for his party’s Tiruttani candidate G Hari during a campaign meeting in Tiruvallur. PMK MP Anbumani Ramadoss campaigned for the AIADMK in RK Pettai village, which is located 20 km away from Tiruttani town. Naam Tamilar Katchi leader Seeman introduced his candidate for Tiruttani at a meeting in Arakkonam.
As of now, DMDK chief Vijayakanth is the lone political leader to have visited the town for campaign.
The efforts to get the reasoning behind the ‘sentiment’ from the political parties went in vain. In spite of repeated attempts, candidates also could not be reached for comments.
However, an AIADMK functionary rubbished the sentiments as baseless and irrational. “Party leaders’ campaign meetings are scheduled considering various factors such as candidate’s popularity, local issues and polling date. It’s true that nominations are filed during auspicious times. However, electoral success cannot be determined by luck.”