Tiruchirapalli, May 5: A close contest is on the cards in Tiruchirapalli district between the traditional rivals, DMK and AIADMK, though it will be a multi-cornered contest with the national and regional parties in the fray for May 8 Assemby elections to Tamil Nadu.
With a mixture of rural and urban population, the district is often viewed as a ''decisive centre'' for political activities.
The voting pattern in the district has mostly remained uninfluenced by caste considerations, often nullifying the calculations of political parties. Mutharayars form the majority community in the district, which also has a significant population of Christians and Muslims.
Forming part of the Cauvery Delta and with a considerable number of small scale and medium industries, the anciliary units of the public sector giant, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the Ordinance factory and Heavy Alloy Penetrator Project (HAPP) of the defence ministry, the district is essentially an agriculture-oriented and dominated by small farmers and agricultural labourers.
With the State set for the 13 rpt Assembly elections, arch rivals DMK and AIADMK, will lock horns in Tiruchirapalli-II, Musiri, Lalgudi, Uppiliyapuram (reserved) and Marungapuri Assembly constituencies, out of the total nine assembly segments in the district.
While the Congress, a key ally of DMK, will face Marumalarchi DMK (MDMK) in Thottiyam and AIADMK in Srirangam, DMK will clash with MDMK in Tiruchirapalli-I seat.
The founder of Moovendar Munnetra Kazhagam (MMK) M Sridhar Vandaiyar is expected to face a fierce battle with DMK in Tiruverambur constituency.
Politically, Tiruchirapalli district has a special place in the annals of DMK, as it was at the second state-level conference of the party in the year 1956 rpt 1956, that took the important decision of entering into the electoral fray. Similarly, the DMK President M Karunanidhi tested his political career by contesting from Kulithalai in the composite Trichy district in 1957 rpt 1957, defeating his rival K A Dharmalingam of Congress by over 8000 8000 votes.
In the first assembly elections in the year 1952 the Indian National Congress (INC), Tamil Nadu Toilers Party (TTP), All India Scheduled Caste Federation (AISCF), Socialist Party, CPI, Akhil Bharathiya Hindu Maha Sabha and Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party, were in the fray in the composite Tiruchi district.
The INC and TTP won five seats each , CPI two and Independants captured seven seats. In the 1957 elections, the Congress bagged 17 rpt 17 seats out of 20, DMK, CPI and an Independent won one each.
In the 1962 rpt 1962 election Congress, won ten seats, DMK, nine and CPI one. For DMK, the 1967 elections became a turning point, when it captured power in the state. It won 15 rpt 15 seats , while Congress managed to win six only. Similarly in the 1971 polls, DMK, bagged 18 rpt 18 seats, leaving paltry seats to its rivals.
When the AIADMK was formed in 1972, the district became its stronghold, winning majority of seats in 1977, 1980 and 1984. In the 2001 elections, the AIADMK, won six out of nine, while the DMK, managed to bag the remaining three.
The prominent figures in the electoral fray in the district were former minister and one of the Lieutenants of DMK, K N Nehru, who had been nominated by DMK for the fifth time. Popular Tamil writer Rokkaiah Malik alias Salma, former Chairman of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation M Paranjothi, veteran sportsman A D Sendureswaran of Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), founder of Dravida Vizhipunarvu Kazhagam (DVK B T Kumar, were among others.
The district is one among the worst affected districts in the last year's torrential rains and floods. The major issues confronting the people of the district were to find out a permanent solution to prevent floods, which was yet to be fulfilled by the successive DMK and AIADMK governments. Civic amenities, unemployment, drinking water, were the other major issues, causing concern to the candidates.
While the candidates of Democratic Progressive Alliance(DPA)-led by DMK, were happy over its attractive poll promises and confident of winning the elections, as it had reached the rural people. In contrast, the AIADMK candidates, were hopeful of sweeping the elections, based on their Amma's (Ms Jayalalithaa) achievements and the famous two-leaves symbol.
The total number of electorate in the district, after the recent summary revision were 17,56,511 rpt 17,56,511, with 892818 rpt 892818 women voters, outnumbering 863703 rpt 863703 men voters.