Chennai, April 25: In a last-minute U-turn, the MDMK chief Vaiko announced on Monday that he will not be contesting the upcoming assembly elections on May 16, Monday.
Vaiko, who was set to contest after 20 years, withdrew his candidature from the poll fray after he reportedly faced black flag protests by caste-groups in Kovilpatti constituency, when he reached Kovilpatti Revenue Divisional Office to file his nomination.
Vaiko said that the DMK and its Kovilpatti candidate were engineering protests against him on caste lines by recounting his support for Kausalya, the wife of Dalit man Sankar who was hacked to death recently.
While alleging that DMK was campaigning on caste basis, Vaiko lashed out at the state of affairs in the DMK. [Angered by question, Vaiko walks out of a TV interview]
"I have dedicated myself to the causes of communal harmony, caste-clash free State, total prohibition, corruption-free governance in the State. This being my stand, I would not like to be responsible for any situation that would affect peace and communal harmony among the people'', he said.
''Hence, I have decided to withdraw from election. The decision was taken after holding extensive consultations with senior party leaders," he said in a media statement.
Now, Vaiko has ben replaced by another candidate Vinayak G Ramesh.
PWF main constituents are CPI, CPI-M and VCK, DMDK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC).
In the 1996 Assembly election, just three years after founding MDMK, Vaiko had contested from Vilathikulam constituency and lost by a very narrow margin of 634 votes to DMK candidate K Ravisankar, who polled 30,190 votes.
He lost in the Lok Sabha election too that year and only emerged third by bagging 2,04,339 votes in Sivakasi seat.
Since then, Vaiko has not contested in Assembly polls though he won in Lok Sabha polls from the same Sivakasi seat in 1998 and 1999. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls he lost in Virudhunagar.