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Tamil Nadu - Coimbatore Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Western belt still AIADMK bastion

K.V. Prasad

Party emerges victorious with lion's share of 53 of 57 seats


Major election issues included power cuts, agricultural crisis and industrial pollution

Some DMK members blamed alliance with Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam for the defeat


COIMBATORE: When the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) sweeps the entire State, western Tamil Nadu cannot be an exception. This was the view among members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its ally, the Congress, here when decisive margins in favour of the AIADMK emerged from the counting centres across the region.

The DMK members' view came in the context of the contest in Coimbatore District, touted as the AIADMK's bastion.

The sense of inevitability conveyed in the views emanated from the results of the 2006 Assembly elections, in which the DMK and the Congress, won only three out of the 13 seats. The AIADMK bagged the other seats in the district even as the DMK won in the rest of the State last time.

When the AIADMK could take the lion's share then, it was no surprise this time, a DMK member pointed out.

The AIADMK front won 53 of the 57 seats this time in western Tamil Nadu, which comprises Coimbatore, Tirupur, Erode, the Nilgiris, Salem, Namakkal, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts.

The DMK won the Gudalur (Dravida Mani) and Coonoor (K. Ramachandran) seats in the Nilgiris District and Vepanahalli (T. Senguttuvan) in Dharmapuri District. Congress' sitting MLA K. Gopinath won in Hosur.

Losers

The losers in the DMK included party heavyweights Veerapandi S. Arumugham (Sankari), Deputy Speaker V.P. Duraisamy (Rasipuram) and Ministers Pongalur N. Palanisamy (Coimbatore South) and M.P. Saminathan (Madathukulam).

The other prominent losers for the DMK were C. Govindasamy (Tirupur North) who crossed over from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and S. Muthusamy (Erode East), who moved over from the AIADMK.

The western belt had some major election issues such as power cuts, agricultural crisis and industrial pollution.

But the AIADMK's charge that the DMK imposed a “family rule” on the State seemed to have registered well with the voters, the DMK member admitted. The cadres of the party too felt demoralised as the allegation seemed to acquire credibility by the day, he said.

Party district secretary and Minister Pongalur N. Palanisamy and other functionaries withdrew from public focus as soon as the early leads conveyed the message of defeat.

The DMK members in this region, particularly Coimbatore, began looking for reasons for the defeat. They refused to accept the verdict as one similar to the rout in 2001. This time, the slew of welfare measures implemented by the government should have helped the DMK retain power, they argued. Feeling let down, some of them put part of the blame on the alliance with the Kongunadu Munnetra Kazhagam (KNMK). Viewed as a party of Gounders, the KNMK might have alienated voters among Dalits and other castes from the DMK, they felt. The DMK needlessly gave a new party seven seats in a prestigious zone, assuming that the KNMK had a sizeable vote bank.

On its part, the KNMK seemed to have taken the loss of all seven seats in the region as a learning experience. It contested from Sulur, Udumalpet, Pollachi, Namakkal, Perundurai, Gobichettipalyam and Palladam.

Party leader G.K. Nagaraj said: “When a 60-year-old party such as the DMK could suffer such a crushing defeat, we know our two-year-old party had no chance.”

Asked whether the KNMK felt that it was in the wrong front, he said: “We had no choice, as the AIADMK did not accommodate us.” Since its formation in 2009, the KNMK claimed some pockets were its stronghold, including Sulur in Coimbatore District. But, the party's general secretary E.R. Easwaran lost to Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam's K. Dinakaran in this constituency.

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