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A close contest between AIADMK, DMK

By K. Subramanian


A neck and neck race is being witnessed in the Sriperumbudur (Reserved) Lok Sabha constituency where the sitting MP, A. Krishnasamy of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an advocate, is pitted against Dr. P. Venugopal of the All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a new face.

Although 15 candidates including 11 Independents are in the fray the fight is only between Mr. Krishnasamy and Dr. Venugopal, who is banking on the Government's performance and the Rajnikant factor.

The Sriperumbudur constituency is a bastion of the DMK. In the 11 Lok Sabha polls held between 1962 and 1999, the party captured the seat six times followed by the Congress thrice and the AIADMK twice.

The constituency has six Assembly segments of Gummidipoondi, Ponneri (Reserved), Sriperumbudur (Reserved), Poonamalle, Tiruvallur and Tiruttani.

Dalits account for nearly 50 per cent of the electorate followed by Vanniyars, Naidus and others.

Farmers are worried about raising paddy and groundnut as most of the irrigation tanks have gone dry following over-exploitation of groundwater. Growing unemployment among youth, drinking water shortage, bad condition of link roads in villages and free flow of illicit arrack are some of the key issues.

Although several small and big industrial units are located in Sriperumbudur, Poonamallee and Gummidipoondi areas, thousands of workers were thrown out of employment due to recession and stiff competition.

The sale and distillation of illicit arrack in several parts of the constituency coupled with smuggling of illicit liquor from Andhra Pradesh had ruined the village economy. Illegal sand quarrying and over exploitation of groundwater from the Arani and Kosasthalai river basins had depleted the groundwater level, affecting farmers.

The Rajnikant factor is hardly seen in the constituency. The Congress alliance with the DMK came as a plus point to Mr. Krishnasamy, who is easily accessible to all sections.

The total electorate is: 14,25,683 (men 6,95,605 and women 7,30,078).

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