The AIADMK has kept ally BJP out of the campaign in the election to the Lok Sabha from Vellore constituency in Tamil Nadu scheduled for Aug 5.With hardly a week go for the polls, the AIADMK has not invited BJP leaders for the campaign for its alliance candidate and New Justice Party leader A C Shanmugham for fear of alienating the sizable number of Muslims in the constituency.Tamil Nadu BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan broadly confirmed this . She said:” We are not campaigning in Vellore. But it is not because we have not been invited, but because our leaders are all busy with the recruitment drive which is now underway”.
The AIADMK-BJP alliance drew a blank in the Lok Sabha polls held last April. The AIADMK has blamed it on the anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK won only one out of 38 seats for which elections were held. It is the Theni seat from where Deputy Chief Minister O Pannerselvem’s son O P Raveendranath Kumar has won.The election in Vellore, from where senior DMK leader Durai Murugan’s son Kathir Anand is contesting, was countermanded by the Election Commission last April after recovery of over Rs 11.48 crore from a godown owned by a man believed to a client of Durai Murugan who is an advocate.
The income tax officials also raided Durai Murugan’s house before the polls but they recovered only Rs 10 lakh in cash, all accounted for. Then came the raid on the godown.Though the Election Commission called for fresh nominations after announcing the new date for the polls, both the Dravidian majors have fielded the same candidates as it is a low-stake poll.It is a prestige fight though for Durai Murugan because his son is in the field and for that reason, DMK president M K Stalin campaigned last week.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami also campaigned around the same time in Vellore, not because of any affinity to its alliance candidate A C Shanmugham, who is a millionaire and who runs an engineering college, but cause it wants to somehow defeat the DMK.Stalin has wooed the electorate by pointing out that all the 37 elected members of the DMK and its allies are fighting for the rights of Tamil Nadu in Lok Sabha on issues like Neet, hydrocarbon project and so on.
On the other hand, the sole AIADMK member Ravindranath supported the triple talaq bill in the Lok Sabha to appease the BJP , Stalin has pointed out to Muslim minority in the constituency. Also in the fray just to make a point is Tamil Nadu Nationalist Party leader and film director Seeman.The outcome will not have any impact as the DMK already has enough seats from Tamil Nadu. For the AIADMK, which is not even in the fray, the victory of its ally will not add to its kitty.