Monday, May 19, 2014

Caste factor played an important role

The defeat of DMK candidate S. Gandhirajan was nothing but a repeat of what AIADMK candidate S.V. Balasubramani faced in 2009 Lok Sabha poll. Caste factor played a crucial role. The district units of both parties have been striving to make Dindigul as a Thevar stronghold rather than making it their party bastion at the cost of the prospects of the parties. Whenever these Dravidian parties fielded candidates belonging to this community, both parties tried their luck on the basis of campaign strategy, cadre strength and money and muscle power, giving less importance to caste factor. If one of these parties fielded candidates belonging to other communities, caste factor came to the fore. Both district units would take a common stand, giving priority to this community and pushing parties’ interests to the back burner. Caste factor clearly mirrored in the 2009 and 2014 LS poll results. The 2009 poll was crucial for the AIADMK because it had to win more seats to prove its strength and retain its bastion built by party founder M.G. Ramachandran. It had then fielded P. Basubramani, belonging to Gounder community and a native of Oddanchatram. But, he was defeated by N.S.V Chitthan, who belongs to Mukkulathor community and enjoyed a massive support from the DMK. Mr. Balasubramani had garnered votes almost equal to Mr. Chithan in Oddanchatram and Palani, but he had lost votes considerably in Natham, nurtured by Minister for Power R. Viswsanathan and Nilakottai, another AIADMK stronghold. It was vice-versa in 2014 poll. Now, the DMK fielded Mr. Gandhirajan, who belonged to Gowder community and a native of Vedasandur. But the AIADMK fielded lesser-known M. Udayakumar, who lost in panchayat election. Community (Thevar) was his only plus point. Again, caste factor topped the agenda. Mr. Gandhirajan lagged behind Mr. Udayakumar in Oddanchatram Assembly segment, which was retained by DMK’s R. Chakkarapani for two decades. The AIADMK was leading from the first round and got 14,844 votes more than the DMK. (In 2009, Mr. Chitthan’s margin was 236 votes). In Palani segment, the DMK lost its hold. In Athoor, the AIADMK was trailing behind from the beginning. Athoor votes were a determining factor. But Mr. Gandhirajan’s margin was just 9,184 votes. (In 2009 poll, Mr. Chitthan’s margin was 33,000 votes.) The AIADMK gained control in other segments.

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