Cuddalore (TN): Ruling AIADMK candidate A Arunmozhithevan is straining every sinew in his native district to breach the DMK bastion of Cuddalore Parliamentary constituency, which has mostly been held by the latter and its allies.
The former legislator, a native of Thittakudi in Cuddalore district, was one of 61 AIADMK candidates elected in the 2006 Assembly polls, when his party-led alliance won just 69 seats of the total of 234 and was handed a resounding defeat by DMK.
Barring a brief stint by AIADMK in 1999, the seat has been either held by DMK or Congress since the 1951 general elections.
DMK won the seat in 2004 and its ally Congress in 2009.
AIADMK`s arch rival DMK, which looks confident of wresting the seat from its erstwhile ally Congress, has put up K Nandagopalakrishnan.
Sitting MP and Congress candidate S Alagiri is facing a big challenge this time around since DMK, which has considerable influence in the constituency, walked out of UPA after nine-and-a-half years on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue.
In 1999, when Congress was in the AIADMK fold, it was DMK candidate Adhi Sankar, who won the seat.
Unlike the 2009 polls, Alagiri also has to face CPI and another new entrant DMDK, whose candidate C R Jayashankar is his old friend.
DMDK was slow off the blocks at least from Cuddalore, since the Vijayakant-led party had to change its candidate at the eleventh hour, forcing its chief to cancel his campaigning for the seat.
However, the party can hope for some Vanniyar votes, which are sizeable in Cuddalore district, through its ally Pattali Makkal Katchi in the BJP-led alliance.
DMDK also stands to benefit from the sizeable Vijayakant
fan base in Vridhachalam, which sent the actor-turned politician to the Assembly for the first time in 2006.
CPI candidate Balasubramanian looks certain to pose a challenge to DMK as he would cut into some of the Dravidian outfit`s votes.
Issues like pollution because of chemical industries in the district, slow growth of cashewnut industry due to lack of infrastructure, workers` problem at Neyveli Lignite Corporation, perennial drinking water scarcity are among those impeding the constituency?s growth.
But strangely, the electorate seems not to be reflecting them in the voting patterns, at least in the past elections.
Cuddalore Parliamentary constituency comprises Tittakudi (SC), Vridhachalam, Neyveli, Cuddalore, Panruti and Kurinjipadi Assembly segments.
Of the six, AIADMK bagged three and DMDK an equal number in the 2011 Assembly polls. However, one of the three DMDK legislators is believed to have shifted his political loyalty to AIADMK.