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Pudukottai constituency haunts voters

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Delimitation Commission abolished it suddenly in recent exercise

TIRUCHI: When the voters of Pudukottai revenue district exercise their franchise in the General Elections on May 13, a majority will go through the process with the grudge of being ignored by the Election Commission, for the first time in the history of free India.

The Pudukottai Lok Sabha constituency, which existed since the first ever General Elections held in Independent India in 1952, is no longer in the Parliamentary Map of the country.

The Delimitation Commission of India abolished the constituency all of a sudden in the recent exercise.

Pudukottai achieves significance, as it remained a separate ‘Samasthanam’ under the erstwhile Tondaiman rulers. The Pudukottai Samasthanam was merged with the Union of India in 1948.

Following Independence, delimitation of Lok Sabha constituencies was first carried out in 1951 prior to the General Elections.

The erstwhile Tiruchi revenue district accounted for three seats – Tiruchi, Pudukottai and Perambalur.

The Pudukottai Parliamentary constituency continued to exist even after Pudukottai revenue district was carved out from the Tiruchi and Thanjavur districts on January 14, 1974.

Five segments

The new Pudukottai district encompassed five Assembly segments — Pudukottai, Aranthangi, Alangudi, Kulathur (reserved) and Tirumayam. While the Tirumayam seat was part of the Sivaganga Parliamentary constituency, the remaining four came under the Pudukottai Parliamentary constituency along with Pattukottai and Peravaruani seats in neighbouring Thanjavur district till the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

As per the new proposal of the Delimitation Commission, the six Assembly segments in Pudukottai revenue district have been apportioned to four Parliamentary constituencies in as many neighbouring districts.

In fact, people in the district are still unable to come to terms with the abolition of Pudukottai Lok Sabha seat. The Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests S. Regupathi has got the distinction of the last MP to represent this constituency in the Lok Sabha.

In the first ever General Elections, Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party won the seat defeating the Congress.

In the General Elections that followed, the Congress won the seat five times (1957, 1980, 1984, 1989 and 1991), DMK emerged victorious thrice (1971, 1996 and 2004) and the AIADMK twice (1977 and 1998).

The veteran CPI-M leader R. Umanath was elected to the Lok Sabha from this constituency twice in 1962 and 1967 and MGR AIADMK’s S. Thirunavukkarasar (at present BJP Rajya Sabha member) was elected in 1999.

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