March 20, 2021 7:51:30 pm
“It was like a relationship breakup. Like every sitting MLA, I had a huge expectation, I wanted to contest from this constituency again,” Mettupalayam MLA OK Chinnaraj told The Indian Express.
As AIADMK announced the list of candidates for the April 6 assembly elections, it caused some heartburn among the sitting MLAs who had been cold-shouldered in Coimbatore district. While AIADMK will contest nine out of 10 seats there, leaving one seat — Coimbatore South — for ally BJP, it has fielded only five sitting MLAs and denied tickets to the rest.
From Mettupalayam, the party has announced former minister and former P AK Selvaraj as its candidate. “At the end of the day, we want our party to win, so I have decided to give my full support to the chosen candidate,” said Chinnaraj over the phone.
Asking if it was the support to O Panneerselvam in 2017 that impacted the party’s decision, the MLA said: “No, nothing like that. A few people who supported Panneerselvam have been fielded again. This is the party’s decision. I cannot comment on that.”
“I knew every single individual in this constituency. If they need any help, I would like to help them irrespective of the designation the party gives. If I cannot solve the issue, I would definitely bring it to the new MLA,” said Selvaraj.
BJP has fielded one candidate from the textile city — Vanathi Srinivasan in Coimbatore South constituency, where MNM party chief Kamal Haasan is also in the fray. Cadres from Coimbatore South are unhappy with the party’s decision on giving the constituency to BJP and staged a protest in several areas last week.
The sitting MLA of Coimbatore South, Amman K Arjunan, is the fray in Coimbatore North, whose sitting MLA PRG Arunkumar is contesting on Kavundampalayam seat.
V C Arukutty, the sitting AIADMK MLA of Kavundampalayam, has also been denied ticket this time. Kavundampalayam is the second-largest assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu. It was bifurcated from the Thondamuthur constituency in 2009 as part of the 2008 delimitation order of parliamentary and assembly constituencies . After the reorganization, Arukutty has been elected twice from the same constituency, in 2011 and 2016.
When asked about the party’s decision, he said: “Politics is meant to be like this only. I understand the party’s decision,”
Is he going to campaign for PRG Arun Kumar? “On such sunny days, I don’t go out of my village. I’m encouraging my followers and villagers to vote for AIADMK. I will campaign at the village level.”
In Thondamuthur, Tamil Nadu’s municipal administration minister S P Velumani is contesting while Deputy Speaker of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, Pollachi Jayaraman, is contesting in Pollachi.
“In my constituency, I’ve continued the welfare schemes that my predecessors started. My successor will take forward my work,” says Kinathukadavu MLA Ettimadai A Shanmugam who has been denied ticket.
Considered one of the AIADMKs strongholds in the Kongu belt, the seat has been with the party since 2001. There were no updates on his official Facebook page since the party announced the candidates’ list. He was reluctant to answer about the welfare schemes he had announced for the constituency and the party’s decision.
In Sulur, sitting MLA VP Kandasamy, who won the by-polls in 2019, is again contesting. In Singanallur, Coimbatore district AIADMK MGR youth wing president KR Jeyaram is contesting.
Meanwhile, Valparai MLA Kasturi Vasu, who has been denied ticket, said: “I have eagerly waited for the announcement of candidates’ list. But the ticket was given to Amul Kandasamy to contest the Valparai constituency (SC). After the announcement, I felt bad for a while.”
He added: “In this hilly area, we have constructed roads till the end of every tea estate. I’ve earned my name by visiting people individually and resolved their issues. The candidate that the party has fielded resided in Coimbatore and has promised to relocate if he wins. If the people approach me to solve the issues, I would help them out. One thing we have to understand that no one has to be an MLA to serve the people,” said Vasu over the phone call.
Residing in Anamalai, Kasturi Vasu is campaigning for Kandasamany in various estates and Anamalai villages. She was one among the 16 female AIADMK candidates who won in 2016 elections.
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