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Tuesday, May 08, 2001

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Thiruvaiyaru: It is DMK vs. AIADMK

By G. Srinivasan

THANJAVUR MAY 7. The AIADMK seems to be sitting pretty in Thiruvaiyaru Assembly segment in Thanjavur district.

Thiruvaiyaru is one of the five Assembly segments in the district where the DMK and the AIADMK lock horns in a straight fight. Though MDMK is also in the fray, the main fight is between the DMK and the AIADMK.

The AIADMK candidate Mr. Ayyaru Vandayar, a popular leader in the district, member of Poondi family and doyen in the field of education. Belonging to the dominant Kallar community, Mr. Vandayar commands the respect of all sections of people and leaders of all parties. Supported by the allies - TMC, Communists and Congress - Mr. Vandayar is ahead in the campaign. The overwhelming response to the general secretary Ms. Jayalalitha's campaign on May one (there was a virtual stampede when Ms. Jayalalitha's van entered Thiruvaiyaru) gave a morale boost to him.

Facing Mr. Vandayar is the sitting DMK MLA, Mr. Durai Chandrasekaran, who is also not a novice to politics. He also belongs to dominant Kallar community. He shot into fame when he defeated thespian Sivaji Ganesan, in Thiruvaiyaru in 1989.

He lost to Mr. P. Kaliyaperumal of the AIADMK in 1991 when AIADMK came to power. In 1996, he defeated Mr. Subramanian of the AIADMK.

Support from the allies (TMC, Congress, CPI and CPI(M) which have sizable votes in the constituency where Adhi Dravida votes are also more), own popularity and the people's complaints against Mr. Durai Chandrasekar that he had not performed well and that he allegedly made money in sand quarrying, are plus points for Mr. Vandayar.

Nativity (Mr. Durai Chandrasekar belongs to Kandiyur while Vandayar stays at Thanjavur) and the feeling that he is easily accessible and DMK's strength are plus points for Mr. Chandrasekar. Inner party rivalry also mars the chances of Mr. Chandrasekar. At many places, he was not allowed by the people to enter.

Unfortunately for Mr. Chandrasekar, the more than 100- years old bridge across Cauvery connecting Thiruvaiyaru with Thanjavur collapsed. Only a temporary road on the bed of the Cauvery connects Thiruvaiyaru and Thanjavur. People had been put to a lot of inconvenience and this is a negative point for the DMK candidate.

Thiruvaiyaru has favoured DMK and AIADMK equally in the past with DMK winning three times from 1967 to 1977, AIADMK in 1980 and 1984, DMK again in 1989, AIADMK in 1991 and DMK in 1996. Mr. Chandrasekaran polled 57,429 votes in 1996 election defeating his nearest AIADMK rival who polled 30,418 votes. Margin was nearly 27,000 votes.

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