The Erode East constituency, birth place of rationalist leader, and father of Dravidian Movement Periyar EVR, has raised a question of whether it would elect Congress candidate Thirumagan Evara, great grandson of Periyar to state assembly.
It may be recalled that Congress won in the segment in 1962 and and after that it didn’t get success. So, this contest gets much significance.
His father and former Union Minister EVKS Elangovan won from Sathy in 1977 as MLA and then as MP from Gobi in 2004 poll.
Erode is also the birthplace of maths prodigy Ramanujan and is known as Yellow (turmeric) City and the Textile City.
The segment had equal percentage of Goundars, Mudaliars and Minorities, besides considerable number of SCs, north Indians and other community people.
Its boundary is within the Erode Corporation where weavers, workers, traders, civil servants are more.
The town has a major texile, turmeric markets, mandis and many handloom, powerloom, texile processing units, giving job opportunity to lakhs of people.
During the 2008 constituency realignment, the Erode Legislative Assembly constituency was split into two as Erode East and Erode West constituency. There are 111650 male, 116735 female voters,17 transgenders, totalling 228402 voters.
Mixing of textile, tannery effluents and urban sewage in the Cauvery River and Kalingarayan irrigation canals is a major problem.
Though texile units bought a land at BP Agraharm, no steps were taken to set up CETP to check the problem.
The late CM Jayalalithaa assured to create Rs 700 crore CETP project for Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Salem districts, nothing was done so far.
So, the farmers in nearby areas were suffering, ground water contamination problem surfaced, cancer and other diseases were on the rise.
Poor condition of roads due to UGD, Uratchikottai drinking water schemes, giving away of all contract works to ruling party bigwigs, no transparency in the Erode corporation smart city scheme, shifting of Nethaji vegetable market to VOC playground, which is a only major ground in the town, poor condition of main VOC Park, wrong planning in construction of a flyover in the town, etc were major issues.
Though some development works were initiated by the sitting AIADMK MLA KS Thennarasu, his party men themselves were unhappy due to his nepotism and other reasons.
So, he was denied party ticket and the seat was given to TMC state wing president M Yuvaraja who is contesting in AIADMK’s Two Leaves symbol now.
In 2011 poll, he as Congress candidate in DMK alliance contested against AIADMK city district secretary KV Ramalingam in Erode West segment, who was contesting there for 3rd consecutive time, and faced defeat.
His party has no base in the segment so that he was depending heavily on AIADMK cadres. But, many functionaries who wished to contest did not show much interest in the campaign.
After creation of Erode East, VC Chandrakumar (DMDK) won in the AIADMK alliance in 2011 and AIADMK’s KS Thennarasu in 2016.
In the 13 elections before the reorganization of the constituency from 1951 to 2006, the Socialist party won 1 time, the Congress won 2 times and the AIADMK and DMK won 5 times each.
2016 Poll Results:
Total votes: 2,12,203
KS Thennarasu (AIADMK) 64,879
VC Chandrakumar (DMK) 57,085
Ponchairman (DMDK) 6,776
Pon Rajeshkumar (BJP) 5,549
S.Jeganathan (KMDK) 2,721
Now, 14 candidates are in the fray, including SA Muthukumaran (AMMK,) Rajakumar (MNM), and Gomati (Naam Tamilar Party.
Yuvaraja is belonging to the majority Kongu Velalalar Goundar community and is known to public already.
Evara, Congress General Secretary, is belonging to minority Naikkar community and is considered as a new face to Erode people due to his maintaining low-profile in the politics.
Due to low cadre strength in his party, he is also heavily depending on DMK to get success.
The Congress party, which won the Erode constituency in 1962, lost in 1967 and 1971. Then in 1980, it lost the contest in the DMK alliance.
Similarly, in 2011, it lost in the Erode West constituency in DMK alliance. If Evara wins, after 60 years, it will be a new history for the Congress party.