Aravakurichi constituency gears up for mega duel

Former IPS officer, who is making political debut as BJP candidate, is pitted against DMK contender

With K. Annamalai, a former IPS officer of the Karnataka cadre, making his debut as a candidate of the BJP in the State elections, Aravakurichi constituency has emerged as one of the star constituencies in the State.

It is yet another election festival for voters of the constituency as they get ready to exercise their franchise in the Assembly election for the third time since 2016. The constituency extends from Velayuthampalayam in the north to Aravakurichi and Pallapatti in the south and K. Paramathi in the west.

Most parts of Aravakurichi and K. Paramathi unions are characterised by rocky terrain and parched lands.

Although there are some bus body building units, blue metal units and dyeing units, besides the Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Paper Ltd at Pugalur, in the constituency, there is a strong grouse among the voters that industrialisation, which is the main characteristic of Karur and its suburbs, has not spread its wings to Aravakurichi.

Drumstick raised on the arid land of Aravakurichi has markets in north, east, and west of the country including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh. But being a perishable commodity, the shelf life of the produce is limited and farmers have no option but to market the vegetable as early as possible. There is lack of proper facility for storage or value addition and farmers are forced to depend upon the prices offered by middlemen, who often eat into the profit. Though the constituency has elected influential personalities in the past, farmers are sore that their demands are yet to be fulfilled.

Most of the villages, including town panchayats such as Aravakruchi, K. Paramathi, Pallapatti, face an acute shortage of drinking water. They get water once in five days to seven days.

“Water scarcity is not new in the constituency. It has been issue for more than 30 years. We hope the new Cauvery combined drinking water scheme announced by the State government will solve it soon,” says A. Manoharan of Aravakurichi.

Environmentalists express concern over the unmindful discharge of effluents by dyeing units in the Amaravathi and the Noyyal rivers.

While BJP has fielded Mr. Annamalai, who hails from Thottampatti, DMK has nominated Monjanur R. Elango, son of former MLA Monjanur Ramasamy. Makkal Needhi Maiam, AMMK and NTK have fielded their candidates, but an intense fight is on mainly between Mr. Annamalai and Elango.

Since 1971, the AIADMK and DMK has won here five times eac and Congress and Indian Union Muslim League once each. Kongu Vellala Gounder and the people who belong to the Scheduled Castes dominate the constituency.

Amid allegations of attempts to polarise the voters on religious lines, Mr.Annamalai is also trying to win over the confidence of minority voters by promising houses for all of them.

Mr. Elango, who is also the son of the soil, enjoys the goodwill of his father. He banks on the committed votes of the DMK.

He feels that the minority voters in Pallapatti will support his endeavour to mantle the role of MLA of the constituency.

Both Mr.Annamalai and Mr.Elango are on a whirlwind tour of the constituency to win over the confidence of the voters.

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