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Voters dilemma: Whom to pick?

The Congman or MDMK contender? For the people of Thondamuthur, they are both the birds of the same flock.

india Updated: May 06, 2006 14:41 IST

Both are former Union Ministers — SR Balasubramoniyan of Congress and M Kannappan of Vaiko's MDMK.

One is a sitting MLA and the other is trying his luck for the first time. Both are known as "outsiders."

But what bothers voters at Thondamuthur in Coimbatore is that whoever they elect never shows his face after winning.

They say the tag of ex-Union ministers is of no use to them if they do not serve the constituency. "A change of MLA is not going to make much difference, given what had happened over the past 10 years," says a farm labourer.

The charge against SRB — as Balasubramoniyan is known — is that he rarely visited the constituency not only as MLA, but also as an MP, when he represented Nilgiris, under which Thondamuthur Assembly segment falls. SRB's supporters ask how many times has Jayalalithaa visited her constituency, Andipatti.

SRB's predecessor was CR Ramachandran of the DMK, whose frequent absence also did not make the voters grow fonder.

In fact, SRB won the seat in the midst of an anti-incumbency wave against the DMK government in 2001.

A loyalist of late GK Moopanar when he formed the Tamil Maanila Congress, SRB was Union minister of state for personnel when Deve Gowda headed the UF government between 1996-98. SRB went back into the Congress after Moopanar passed away.

Some villages protested against renomination of SRB for his "failure" to fulfil the election promises, particularly on the basic amenities like approach roads and drinking water supply.

Aides of SRB, however, blame it on rival Congress groups owing allegiance to Nilgiris MP, R Prabhu and Union minister EVKS Elangovan.

On the other hand, Kannappan, hailing from Alampalayam in Pollachi, had to face some "embarrassing moments" and had to convince the electorate why he switched to AIADMK from DMK after Vaiko's decision to part ways with DMK chief Karunanidhi.

Kannappan, the MDMK treasurer, was once considered close to Karunanidhi.

He cast his lot with Vaiko, when he formed the party in 1993. He was also a minister in the Karunanidhi-led ministries in 1971 and 1989.