Hooch tragedy, BSP leader’s death makes today’s Vikravandi bypolls a tough challenge for DMK | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Hooch tragedy, BSP leader’s death makes today’s Vikravandi bypolls a tough challenge for DMK

By, Chennai
Jul 10, 2024 07:46 AM IST

Bypoll in Vikravandi, Tamil Nadu on July 9 sees DMK and PMK as main contenders amid hooch tragedy and political challenges. AIADMK boycotts, NDA hopes to gain momentum.

Polling for the bypoll in Vikravandi assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu will be held on July 9 where the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and NDA ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) are the main contenders. This is the first bypoll in the state following the Lok Sabha elections in June where the DMK had a landslide victory sweeping the 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone one in Puducherry.

This is the first bypoll in the state following the Lok Sabha elections in June where the DMK had a landslide victory sweeping the 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone one in Puducherry. (AP)
This is the first bypoll in the state following the Lok Sabha elections in June where the DMK had a landslide victory sweeping the 39 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone one in Puducherry. (AP)

However, the victory was marred by the hooch tragedy on June 19 in Kallakurichi– 90 km away from Vikravandi–where 65 people lost their lives. The murder of Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Tamil Nadu unit president K Armstrong in Chennai last week on June 5 is another fresh political challenge for the ruling party. So what was thought to be an easy win for the DMK following their spectacular win in the parliamentary elections has now become a challenge amid a political setback.

Opposition parties -AIADMK and BJP - have continuously attacked the DMK since the hooch tragedy over corruption, collusion and even took the issue to the streets and the Madras high court besides attacking them on matters of law and order.

The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of DMK MLA N Pugazhendhi in April. AIADMK, the main opposition party in the state, has boycotted the polls blaming the DMK for indulging in electoral malpractices. The constituency is dominated by Vanniyars who are the core vote bank of the PMK. The NDA, which garnered a vote share of 19% in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu, is hoping to build on the momentum.

A heated campaign in the constituency drew to a close on June 8. On the field were sports minister Udhayanidhi Stalin leading the campaign for party candidate Aniyur Siva urging people to vote for the DMK so they can continue the good work done by late Pugazhendhi. PMK’s president Anbumani Ramadoss campaigned for candidate C Anbumani accusing the DMK of delaying to give the 10.5% internal reservation for Vanniyars and of failing to maintain law and order. PMK, is also at the forefront of championing for total prohibition in Tamil Nadu. Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK) S Seeman campaigned for P Abhinaya asking. A total of 29 candidates are in the fray.

Chief minister and DMK president MK Stalin, who did not visit the constituency to campaign, on Tuesday released his government’s achievements in the last three years in Villupuram district, which holds the Vikravandi constituency. To woo the Vanniyar community, he promised to construct a memorial worth 5.7 crore for 21 people who lost their lives in 1987 during police firing during a protest for reservation for backward classes. “We are likely to win the by-poll but the hooch tragedy and Armstrong’s murder has posed a serious challenge. The leadership realises this and is trying to regain the confidence of the masses,” a DMK leader said on condition of anonymity.

Since the AIADMK is out of the race, the opposition PMK and NTK have reached out to their vote bank. “The Vanniyar voters, who have traditionally voted for the AIADMK, may vote for us,” said a PMK leader not wishing to be named. They were hoping to consolidate on the AIADMK vote bank but the recent war of words between BJP state president K Annamalai and AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami they believe could have upset voters of the latter.

Political analyst Raveendran Duraisamy says that the DMK will secure 55% of the votes. “There is a polarisation of Vanniyar and non-Vanniyar votes and, being the ruling party, the DMK will eat into the Vanniyar votes. The PMK is projecting the NDA and Annamalai to attract non- Vanniyar votes. The results will show that the hooch tragedy, murder are not issues in a bypoll because despite that the DMK will win,” he said.

The counting of votes will be on July 13.

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