Madurai: Southern Tamil Nadu, comprising
nine districts with 58 constituencies, may hold the key to the
next government with candidates of DMK and AIADMK sweating it
out to prove their strength in this crucial region which had
given a surprise lead to the ruling combine in 2006 elections.
With Union Minister and DMK’s strongman M K Alagiri
making the winning majority of the seats from this region as a
prestige issue, stakes are high for the ruling party in the
region -- Madurai to Kanyakumari at the southernmost tip of
the Indian peninsula. The fate of eight state ministers from
these districts would be sealed tomorrow.
Most of the southern districts Madurai, Sivaganga,
Theni, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Tuticorin,
Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari -- have always been with AIADMK
ever since it was floated by late matinee idol M G
Ramachandran but things changed after Alagiri came into
Under his leadership, DMK made inroads into traditional
AIADMK strongholds and it was evident in the 2006 Assembly
polls when the DMK-Congress combine had won 41 of the 63
The AIADMK-MDMK won 22 seats but they drew a blank in
Ramanathapuram and Kanyakumari districts. This performance was
repeated in the Lok Sabha elections when the Opposition
combine had won only one out of the total 10 seats in the
While DMK is contesting 34 seats in the nine districts,
Congress is in fray in 17 and the rest seven are being shared
by PMK and other smaller parties.
Archrivals AIADMK and DMK are facing each other in 24
constituencies in the region.