March 25, 2019
Chennai : In Tamil Nadu, only two Lok Sabha parliamentary seats will see a direct contest between the two national parties in fray – the BJP and the Congress.
It will be a test for union minister Pon Radhakrishnan in Kanyakumari where he takes on powerful Congress leader H Vasant Kumar. Ironically, it was the strength of Vasant Kumar that enabled a surprise victory for Pon Radhakrishnan as he took away some of the Amma votes. Otherwise, Jayalalithaa had swept the entire state, barring the Dharmapuri constituency from where affable and popular former union health minister and Pattali Makkal Katchi senior leader Anbumani Ramadoss won with caste support.
Other than this, the only seat that went out of AIADMK kitty was Kanyakumari. But this time around the fight and the situation is very different in that Amma is no longer there and also the AIADMK is considerably weakened with the split in its ranks. Rebel leader TTV Dhinakaran will not win but will ensure the defeat of AIADMK candidates (including its allies). So, union minister from the BJP ranks is expected to face tough time to retain his seat, despite his own positive image
For the BJP and even the AIADMK it is twin anti-incumbency as the 37-member strength in Lok Sabha is seen as a total waste for the state by the voters. And adding to this narrative is the DMK which is on an aggressive push, along with its allies and is poised to put up a much greater fight this time around. In the previous general elections, the BJP and its alliance partner the Congress drew a blank.
But this time around, not only its candidate was posing a big challenge to Pon Radhakrishnan, even the green horn in Karthi Chidambaram, son of former union home and finance minister, has a possibility to enter the Lok Sabha from Sivagangai, the family constituency. However, in the last general elections, he had lost the seat in the Amma wave. His father had declined to contest, instead fielding his son to test political waters.
Karthi, who has been nursing the constituency himself and on behalf of his father for several years, is expected to have a better showing this time around as the DMK led alliance appears stronger on paper and on the ground.
It is in these two constituencies that the Congress and the BJP will have a direct fight, albeit with the support of their respective regional forces.
These two seats present a big fight worth watching out for.