The Congress MLA from Chengam in Tamil Nadu and the Dalit face of the party, Polur M Varadhan, died on Thursday, four days after local party activists sought divine intervention to deny him renomination to contest the next assembly elections.
Varadhan, 58, was undergoing treatment for allergic infection in the lungs for the past four days at a hospital here and suffered cardiac arrest.
On Sunday, hundreds of villagers of Chengam constituency in Tiruvannamalai district, about 200 km from Chennai, had prayed to local deity Mariamman — the Tamil version of Goddess Kali — for denial of a Congress ticket to the MLA for the polls scheduled for May.
During the prayer rituals at a temple, a goat was sacrificed and women cooked pongal, a rice porridge dish. Some villagers had also pledged to tonsure their heads if their wish was granted.
Their complaint against the Varadhan was that he rarely visited the constituency and did precious little for it.
However, even his detractors are shocked at the turn of events.
A Congress activist, who organised the prayers, to deny the MLA re-nomination said:
"This is not we had bargained for. It is very unfortunate and tragic. We will hold a condolence meeting." He added, "We only wanted him punished by the party."
Varadhan, a three-time MLA, made his debut in the assembly in 1991 from Sriperumbudur.
He was elected from Chengam in 2001 and 2006. With his death, the Congress strength in the assembly comes down to 33.
Varadhan is survived by his wife and son.