Legislative action alone can eradicate caste-based discrimination: VCK Villupuram candidate

Since March 27, the campaign has so far covered prominent areas in all the six assembly constituencies.
VCK candidate D Ravikumar campaigning in Villupuram
VCK candidate D Ravikumar campaigning in Villupuram Photo | Express

VILLUPURAM: With Lok Sabha elections nearing, the small town of Villupuram cheers to the exuberant campaign of INDIA bloc candidate D Ravikumar from Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK). Beating the campaign heat with a pot that's reminiscent of cold drinking water, VCK campaign is easily identifiable with people carrying earthen pots painted in hues resembling the flags of VCK and DMK, with whom the former is in an alliance with.

Since March 27, the campaign has so far covered prominent areas in all the six assembly constituencies. "So far, we have focussed the campaign on explaining the various schemes I had introduced here during my term as a Member of Parliament-- from health to rural education, fishermen welfare to railways I resolved critical issues that required intervention from a parliamentarian. A few important schemes brought to Villupuram were the HPV vaccine drive first launched in the district, Villupuram railway junction renovated with lifts (under construction) and an IT park in Vanur," he said.

Defining the 'pot'
There were predictions that popularising VCK's electoral symbol may not be an easy task, as Ravikumar had contested in the 2019 elections under DMK's rising sun symbol. "But the predictions were proven wrong with the unwavering support from voters," said Ravikumar, recounting a strong support from DMK Minister K Ponmudy in areas like Thiruvennainallur, Tirukovilur, Kandamangalam, Valavanur and Vikravandi.

However, the new symbol has developed a setback in non-Dalit villages, where several caste Hindus allegedly blocked the campaign van from entering their villages. But, isn't it a nation-wide issue, asked Ravikumar. "The only means to demolish it is by taking legislative measures, which is why we chose a bureaucratic action for Melpathi temple entry issue. It's easy to instigate tension between two groups, but our intention is for everyone to gain equal access," he said. The people opposing our campaigns are not our foes, he said, but are a part of the society we are attempting to educate, he added.

A war akin to freedom struggle
The VCK candidate said that BJP is challenging the constitution not just in terms of its policies, but with the way they have influenced a communal and fascist social behaviour. "Education for people belonging to the marginalised sector has taken a serious hit, with unemployment on a historic rise," he said, adding that the national party has trifled with social balance for the last ten years.

"This election is not a competition, but in fact, a war similar to our freedom struggle. We want to fight it out head-on and reclaim the country for its people, not for the corporate giants," said Ravikumar.

He assured, if elected, Tejas Express will halt in Villupuram Railway Station, students from the Schedule Castes will continue to receive post-matric scholarship, and every scheme introduced for marginalised students, youth and women will be improved upon.

Five concerns that need to be addressed, according to Ravikumar:

1. To pursue the HPV vaccine drive at a national level and introduce special diagnosis and care in Tamil Nadu.
2. Scrutinising legislation introduced in education, health and social justice during the last decade
3. Ensuring the fishermen communities along Villupuram coastal area are availing of their civil rights
4. Introducing legislation against caste-based violence
5. Reinstating all educational scholarships for students belonging to the OBC, SC/ST communities and minorities.

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