Chennai: The Vellore Lok Sabha election, slated for 5 August, is seen not just as a fight for a place in Parliament but also as an opportunity for the Dravidian giants to show their popularity among the people.
The recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections and Assembly by-polls were more like a win-win situation for the DMK and AIADMK.
The DMK emerged the third largest party in Parliament with 37 MPs, while the AIADMK was able to retain power in the State.
This was the first time the new chiefs of both parties faced off each other in an election.
Stalin had the upper hand in the Lok Sabha election with the DMK sweeping all the eight seats in which the AIADMK and DMK had a head-to-head clash. As much as Stalin would like to continue his winning streak, Palaniswami will try to redeem himself, making this a battle of prestige.
It is clearly visible that Palaniswami and Stalin will go all guns blazing. Both leaders are camping in the constituency and seeking votes for the candidates of their parties.
Almost all prominent leaders from both sides are battling it out in the constituency. AIADMK does not want to lag behind during the campaign and has deputed a 209-strong panel to oversee the Vellore parliamentary poll.
Ministers K A Sengottaiyan, Dindigul C Sreenivasan, Thangamani and K P Anbazhagan and party’s deputy coordinator K P Munuswamy have been given important roles. The committee is coordinated by Minister K C Veeramani and MLA S Ravi.
“Palaniswami has asked the cadres to ensure the victory of the AIADMK. Cadres from various places have come to take part in the campaign. With the Chief Minister also camping here for three days, we are sure of victory. Since our candidate (A C Shanmugam) is also a known face and an educationist, he will surely win,” said a party cadre involved in the campaign.
The DMK has announced a 71-member committee for the Vellore Lok Sabha election campaign and the party cadres are sure of their winning chances.
‘This constituency is a stronghold for us and people have already elected 37 MPs from our party. We are sure that our candidate will be elected,” said a DMK cadre.
WHO HOLDS FORT?
Vellore is traditionally seen as a DMK bastion with the party and its alliance partners winning more times in the constituency. However, AIADMK was able to breach that fort in 2014 when B Senguttuvan from the party emerged victorious.
The only other time an AIADMK candidate emerged as winner in the constituency was in 1984, and it was Shanmugam who is fielded now. Shanmugam contested in the BJP alliance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and came second.
Though Shanmugam is a member of the New Justice Party, he will be contesting in the two leaves symbol of the AIADMK.
The DMK has fielded party treasurer Durai Murugan’s son Kathir Anand. The DMK had to get back the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency from its alliance partner IUML which contested there in the last three elections. The last time DMK fielded a direct candidate to the seat was in 1996, when P Shanmugam from the party was elected as the MP.