With change of candidate, PMK gains ground in TN's Dharmapuri LS seat

Chennai, April 15 (IANS) The political arm of the powerful Vanniyar community, PMK, which is an alliance partner of the BJP, is gaining ground in a three-cornered fight in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri Lok Sabha seat.

While the PMK had announced the name of the Dharmapuri East district secretary, Arasangam as its candidate, it later fielded the wife of the party’s chief Anbumani Ramadoss, Sowmiya Anbumani.

Sowmiya’s entry abruptly shifted the mood in the constituency, which was previously headed for a showdown between the two Dravidian giants, DMK and AIADMK.

With only a few days remaining for the voting day, Sowmiya has made significant strides on the ground, with the well-oiled machinery of the BJP and PMK working overtime to ensure a win for her.

The DMK-led INDIA bloc has fielded A. Mani, a lawyer, replacing sitting MP S. Senthilkumar, who was quite popular in the Dharmapuri constituency. The incumbent MP has implemented multiple schemes in the constituency, leading to expectations of his re-election.

Senthilkumar made controversial remarks that the “BJP came to power in Gaumutra (North Indian) states”. However, he had to apologise after Chief Minister M.K. Stalin reprimanded him.

The AIADMK has fielded its Dharmapuri district leader’s son, R. Ashokan, who is a doctor.

Even though all three fronts have fielded Vanniyar community candidates, Sowmiya has an edge. The founder leader of the PMK, S. Ramadoss is highly influential in the community and has extensively campaigned in the constituency for his daughter-in-law, Sowmiya.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, DMK candidate Senthilkumar won the seat by 70,753 votes, defeating Anbumani Ramadoss of the PMK, who had contested as an NDA candidate.

The Dharmapuri Lok Sabha seat comprises six Assembly seats, namely Palacode, Pennagaram, Dharmapuri, Pappireddipatti, Harur and Mettur. In the 2021 Assembly elections, the AIADMK won in Palacode, Pappireddippati and Harur, while the PMK was able to secure Pennagaram, Dharampuri and Mettur.

This means that even though the DMK is representing the Dharmapuri Lok Sabha seat, in the 2021 Assembly elections the party drew a blank while both the PMK and AIADMK shared the six seats with three each.

The BJP and PMK are leaving no stone unturned and the NDA has already announced that if Sowmiya is elected she would get a cabinet berth in the new government to be formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Centre.

P.S. Surulinathan, a retired government employee of Pappireddipatti while speaking to IANS said: ”PM Narendra Modi is very popular here and the NDA is campaigning with the tagline of ‘Modi ki Guarantee’ which has struck a chord with the voters.”

He said that the NDA campaign of Sowmiya to be given a Cabinet Minister post if the BJP is elected to power at the Centre has also given a huge impetus to the alliance and specifically the PMK candidate.



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