The ruling DMK and opposition AIADMK fronts in Tamil Nadu are locked in a pitched battle in the prestigious Madurai Central Assembly constituency where by-poll is scheduled on Wednesday.
Necessitated by the death of former Hindu religious and charitable endowments Minister and veteran DMK leader PTR Palanivelrajan, the by-election is considered a litmus test for the ruling front, five months after it assumed office.
In the constituency with a 1.32 lakh strong electorate, DMK's Ghouse Basha is taking on AIADMK's Rajan Chellappa.
According to political observers, an election had never been fought so seriously in Madurai with several DMK ministers and 10 former AIADMK ministers camping in the city, campaigning.
As electioneering reached its peak, both fronts accused each other of distributing money to voters and engaging in violence. There was even an allegation that former AIADMK minister Madhusoodhanan was roughed up and paraded half naked.
Police filed cases against 40 AIADMK workers, including some former ministers, and 54 DMK men in poll-related cases even as the Election Commission warned of stringent action against those indulging in malpractices.
DMK leaders are listing out development works in the city to seek votes. They also hope fulfillment of poll promises by the present goverment would turn tides in their favour.
"We will win on the basis of our work and achievements. The Rs 600 crore worth development works, including Vaigai river development and underground drainage scheme, have been undertaken during the DMK regime," said Veluchamy, the party's district secretary.