Congress takes on BJP in fight to retain Vilavancode in Tamil Nadu

Though BJP-AIADMK put forth a strong fight with R Jayaseelan as their candidate, Vijayadharani won with a margin of 28,669 votes.
L-R: Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only
L-R: Flags of BJP and Congress parties used for representational purposes only(File Photos | PTI)

KANNIYAKUMARI: Adding an intriguing layer of political fabric to the region amidst the fervent tapestry of Lok Sabha polls, the Vilavancode assembly segment is gearing up for a bypoll, which was necessitated by the resignation of three-time consecutive Congress MLA S Vijayadharani, who joined BJP last February.

The constituency, situated in the western parts of Kanniyakumari district and shares borders with Kerala, came into existence in 1952 attached to the Travancore-Cochin assembly. It came under Madras state in 1957 and under Tamil Nadu in 1971. With Kuzhithurai municipality being the main town along with Arumanai, Kaliyakkavilai, Unnamalaikadai, and Kadayal among others, the assembly had always been the battlefield of Congress and CPM as the Dravidian majors had little roles to play.

Being a stronghold of Congress, CPM tasted victory in the region in 2006. In the 2011 and 2016 elections, Congress candidate S Vijayadharani won the polls. She continued her winning streak in 2021 when the DMK alliance, in which CPM was a partner.

Though BJP-AIADMK put forth a strong fight with R Jayaseelan as their candidate, Vijayadharani won with a margin of 28,669 votes.

Now, again the region is at political crossroads as Vijayadharani has jumped to BJP. She is actively campaigning for the party’s candidate VS Nandhini from Arumanai who belongs to the Hindu Nair community. Congress has fielded its state general secretary Tharahai Cuthbert (47) as its candidate. This Enayam native from the RC Fishers community is a PhD graduate and has served as a lecturer in colleges. U Rani (46) of Nagercoil, who is a member of the Christian Nadar community is the candidate of AIADMK.

She is the managing trustee of a charitable trust. As poll heat sweeps across the constituency which includes the Chittar dam, rubber estates and tribal settlements, the issues from the price drop of rubber to the alleged negligence towards tribal settlement are becoming the talk of the town.

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