Anniyur Siva is DMK’s choice for Vikravandi bypoll

AIADMK may pick R Muthamil Selvan, PMK likely to join byelection fight in BJP alliance
Anniyur Siva
Anniyur Siva

CHENNAI: The ruling DMK on Tuesday demonstrated its keenness to retain the Vikravandi assembly constituency in the upcoming bypoll by naming Anniyur Siva alias A Sivashanmugam as the candidate of the DMK-led alliance, just a day after the bypoll was announced.

Having won all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the DMK leadership views this election as a matter of prestige, aiming to win the seat with a wide margin. However, the opposition AIADMK and PMK, both with a significant vote base in the Vikravandi assembly constituency, can pose a formidable challenge.

DMK naming Siva as the candidate came as a surprise to many within the party, including its leaders and ministers from the district, as it skipped its usual process of inviting applications and conducting interviews with cadres from the constituency.

As per DMK sources, both ministers K Ponmudy and Gingee KS Masthan from the district had sought the party ticket for their supporters. To avoid conflict, the leadership selected Siva, who is not believed to be part of the camps of either of the ministers. Siva, aged 53, joined the DMK when he was 16 and was arrested in 1988 during the anti-Hindi agitation held at post offices, sources said. He is currently the secretary of the State Agricultural Labourer Wing of the DMK. This will be his first election as he has never contested in any, including local body elections.

Meanwhile, other parties are yet to decide on their candidates. The PMK, which is in alliance with the BJP and has a sizeable vote bank in Vikravandi, may be interested in fielding its candidate. It secured 19% votes even when it contested alone in 2016. During a recent press meet, PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss hinted at the party’s interest in contesting the byelection, stating that a final decision would be made after discussions with alliance partners.

Although the PMK generally stays away from byelections, arguing that such elections always favoured ruling parties, it dispenses with that norm in places with significant Vanniyar vote-bank. For instance, it contested the Pennagaram byelection in 2010, securing over 24% of the votes and pushing the AIADMK to third place. Party sources said PMK may want to make DMK’s failure to fulfill its promise of providing 10.5% reservation for the Vanniyar community the campaign point in the bypoll.

The principal opposition party, AIADMK, is likely to decide its candidate soon. It won the seat from the DMK in the 2019 byelection, but failed to retain it in 2021. The party, however, secured a respectable 43% vote-share in the 2021 assembly election and 35% in the recent 2024 Lok Sabha election. Sources suggest that the AIADMK may consider fielding R Muthamil Selvan, who contested the constituency twice, winning once.

(With inputs from Krithika Srinivasan in Villupuram)

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