Billed as the "Best MP" for his performance in the 14th Lok Sabha, S K Karvendan of Congress is facing a litmus test in newly formed Tirupur constituency, where the country's hosiery hub is reeling under the impact of the global meltdown and power shortage.
Karvendan, forced to switch to Tirupur after Palani was removed in the delimitation exercise, emerged as one of the top five performers in the outgoing Lok Sabha in terms of posing questions and participation in debates.
He is pitted against former AIADMK MLA and local man C Sivasami in the constituency with an electorate of 9.87 lakh, comprising a substantial number of hosiery and other allied industry workers and a matching number of farmers, who can tilt the balance in deciding the winner.
Though Tirupur boasts of an export hub earning Rs 11,000 crore worth foreign exchange annually, there is total lack of infrastructure, particularly roads. Following the global meltdown, many hosiery units have been affected and the exports have dropped by around 20-30 per cent, rendering hundreds of people jobless.
The alleged "failure" of the UPA and DMK Governments to take concrete steps to solve the Sri Lankan Tamils issue also appears to have put Karvendan on the backfoot while disunity among the Congress cadres is another area of bother for him.
However, Karvendan, whose house was attacked a few months ago reportedly by Pro-Eelam groups, says the Sri Lankan Tamils issue would not affect the prospects of Congress candidates across the state.