With less than a week left for the Vellore parliamentary polls, the ruling AIADMK and rival DMK have been heating up the campaign trail. Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami undertook a two-day tour of the constituency, campaigning for AIADMK alliance candidate AC Shanmugam. Shanmugam, a businessman, is also founder of the Puthiya Needhi Katchi. The Chief Minister lashed out at the DMK for the polls being rescinded in April. The Election Commission of India (ECI) had cancelled the elections in Vellore Parliamentary constituency, making it the first constituency in India where a Lok Sabha election has been cancelled because of cash for votes. The move came after cash had been seized from the properties of DMK leaders.
According to one report in The Hindu, the Chief Minister said, â€śIn our party, even a farmer can become a Chief Minister, whereas the DMK is governed by the family members of (former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister) Karunanidhi. The AIADMKâ€™s Muhammathjohn of Arcot and N. Chandrasekaran, who were recently elected to the Upper House, will raise their voice for the minorities and the oppressed classes in the Rajya Sabha.â€ť Palaniswami is expected to be back for a final round of campaigning on August 2. Polls are to be held on August 5.
Meanwhile, DMK chief and Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu Assembly, MK Stalin refuted allegations that his party had been responsible for the polls being cancelled. The leader has been campaigning for the DMKâ€™s Kathir Anand, son of senior DMK leader Durai Murugan. According to one report in The New Indian Express, Stalin promised an industrial town near Vaniyambadi in order to enable employment for local youth in Vellore. â€śRecently, a report published in a newspaper noted that DMK had won the April Lok Sabha election with the highest voting ratio in the country. This fact clearly suggests that Tamil Nadu people are with DMK,â€ť he said.
In April, an FIR was registered against Kathir Anand and two of his team members. The FIR stated that Kathir Anand possessed more cash than what he had declared in his election affidavit.
The Lok Sabha polls held in May elected 37 DMK-Congress MPs to parliament. The AIADMK managed to win only one seat â€“ the Theni constituency where OP Raveendranath Kumar, son of Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was elected.