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DMK cadres sore over seat allotment in Vellore district

By P.V.V. Murthy

VELLORE, APRIL 5. The allotment of three of the 12 Assembly constituencies in Vellore district - Natrampalli, Pernambut and Vaniyambadi - to alliance partners in the DMK-led front has caused heartburns among ruling party cadres.

While the Natrampalli constituency, where the sitting MLA, Mr. R. Mahendran, is the DMK west district secretary, has been allotted to the MGR Kazhagam, Pernambut (SC), where too the MLA, Mr. V. Govindan, belongs to the DMK, has been given to the BJP. But the despair among the partymen was acute in Vaniyambadi, where it has been more than two decades since a DMK candidate contested in the Assembly elections. Either the constituency has gone to an Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) or Indian National League candidate who fought in alliance with the DMK or it has been cornered by the AIADMK or Congress.

In 1977, Mr. M. Abdul Latheef, who was then in the undivided IUML which allied with the AIADMK, won the election defeating the DMK candidate, Mr.Sampangi. In 1980, when the IUML was in alliance with the DMK, Mr. Latheef was defeated by the AIADMK's Mr. Kulasekarapandian. In 1984, the DMK candidate, Mr. A.P. Abdul Majid, was defeated by Mr. H. Abdul Majeed of the Congress. In 1989, it was again the INL candidate, Mr. Abdul Samad, who won contesting on the DMK symbol. In 1991, the seat went to Mr. Palur E. Sampath of the Congress, who defeated the DMK candidate. The INL leader, Mr. M. Abdul Latheef who in alliance with the DMK won the 1996 election is the sitting MLA.

Thus, the Vaniyambadi seat has been eluding the DMK. The cadres in the constituency were hopeful that the seat would be allotted to the DMK at least in this election, but to their disappointment, the seat has been given to the Tamil Nadu United Muslim Jamath whose leader, Mr. J.M. Haroon, who broke away from the TMC, is likely to contest.

Another disappointment is the Natrampalli seat, held by Mr. Mahendran, being allotted to the MGR Kazhagam. Whenever the DMK came to power, this constituency was won by the party. Mr. Mahendran himself represented it in 1989.

Another major disappointment will be in store for the DMK cadres if the Vellore and Gudiyatham seats are allotted to the New Justice Party (NJP) with which the DMK is yet to conclude a seat- sharing agreement. The DMK activists of Vellore town, who were bent on getting the Vellore seat allotted to the party to facilitate a direct contest with the AIADMK front, were happy when they found it in the list of constituencies allocated to the DMK. More so because the Vellore seat was won by the Congress' Mr. C. Gnanasekharan in alliance with the AIADMK in 1991, while the constituency was won by the same candidate when it was allotted by the DMK to the TMC in the alliance in 1996. It was under these circumstances that speculation was rife now that the Vellore seat might be allotted to the NJP if it struck an alliance with the DMK.

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