Villupuram: Ruling AIADMK candidate S Rajendran is facing a stiff battle to retain Villupuram (SC) constituency in this Vanniyar dominated district with the main challenge coming from the DMDK of the BJP-led combine.
The electoral trend in the district seems to have witnessed a change ever since the delimitation process in 2009, which declared the erstwhile Tindivanam constituency as Villupuram (SC) constituency.
Earlier, parties which were supported by the Backward Class Vanniyar community won the polls.
Though PMK, with the prominent presence of Vanniyars in the area, has been an influencing factor in the elections, AIADMK made inroads into the constituency for the first time in 2009 after it became a reserved seat.
However, the winning AIADMK candidate had a thin margin of less than 3,000 votes over Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) contestant of the UPA that time.
This time around, while the AIADMK candidate is counting on the state government`s achievements as his poll plank in the district, DMDK nominee K Umashankar is banking on the Vanniyar votes in the area backed by ally PMK.
The DMDK and PMK are part of the six-party alliance cobbled up by BJP in Tamil Nadu.
DMDK workers, led by actor-turned-politician Vijayakant, feel confident about their victory in the April 24 Lok Sabha polls, buoyed by the huge success of the party`s meeting at Ulundurpet, part of the constituency, in February, which witnessed a huge turnout.
Taking on the two candidates is AIADMK`s arch rival, DMK.
However, political observers feel DMK`s chances are bleak as cadre of its ally VCK in the district are sore with it as the Karunanidhi-led party did not give more than two LS seats to their chief Thol Thirumavalavan.
The candidature of K Muthaiyan, a doctor by profession, also seems not to have gone down well with the workers as some argue it is not a good idea for a district which is mainly dominated by agriculturists and hence might not have a direct connect with the voters.
Congress got off the blocks last as it could not find its candidate till the end and finally settled down on former MP K Rani from outside the district.
Though there are many issues which remain to be solved for long like poor literacy, lack of employment opportunities, dying agriculture for want of better irrigation, it looks like caste lines will have a bearing on the electoral outcome of the constituency.
Villupuram Parliamentary constituency comprises six assembly segments - Tindivanam, Vanur (SC), Villupuram, Vikravandi, Tirukoilur and Ulundurpet.
Of the six, AIADMK has four seats, while the remaining were won by erstwhile allies CPI-M and DMDK with its support. However, these parties are not in the AIADMK fold now.