Despite the rise of a sustained and loud attack on the prominent faces of AIADMK, the DMK created a vacuum in the Coimbatore region. His candidates were defeated in 10 Assembly seats, including Singanallur, the only constituency he won in 2016. This is the second time in a decade that the party, which is set to form the next government, has faced to such a debacle.
The leaders of the DMK had made every effort to target the outgoing Minister of Local Government, SP Velumani, and Vice-President Pollachi V. Jayaraman. Yet voters swept aside AIADMK.
AIADMK spokesman Kovai K. Selvaraj said the sweep was an endorsement that voters did not believe the DMK’s accusations. He said The Hindu which the strong cadre of the party helped him win. Claiming that AIADMK has around 4.7 lakh members in Coimbatore district, he claimed their preparatory work led to victory.
“Many parties wouldn’t even have workers in some villages, but for us there would be between 150 and 200 party workers for each voting booth,” Selvaraj said. These executives countered the “false campaign” against MM. Velumani and Jayaraman, he added.
AIADMK won nine seats, while South Coimbatore was taken out by BJP’s Vanathi Srinivasan, who beat Makkal Needhi leader Maiam Kamal Haasan by a slim margin.
A DMK official, requesting anonymity, said the results showed voters in the Kongu Vellala Gounder community, a dominant caste in the district, were not favoring the party.
“People in this community feel they would be safer with AIADMK in power,” he said, lamenting that his party did not ensure adequate representation of the Gounders in party positions or in administrative positions when they were in power. AIADMK had cultivated the community by handing them plum portfolios at the state and district levels, he said.
He gave the example of R. Sakkarapani of DMK, member of Kongu Vellala Gounder, who won for the sixth consecutive time Oddanchathram in Dindigul district. “He was not given a place in the cabinet in 1996 and 2006,” said the head of the DMK.
“The caste factor could have worked. But we have to study the results in detail, ”said MP for Coimbatore PR Natarajan of CPI (M), an ally of the DMK.
There was also a feeling that the outgoing Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who belonged to the Gounder community, was accessible to all and some of the remarks of the DMK leaders made during the campaign could also have influenced voters.
The margin of victory in most constituencies in the district is less than 12,500 votes.
A union leader said the DMK front did not have a command force to plan the campaign in the district. For example, eight unions belonging to an industrial sector gave their support to the DMK front. “No one came forward and asked us to work for the front or spoke to us. We have about 70,000 votes in the district. We weren’t even able to meet all the candidates, ”he said.