In four villages in the Anaicut constituency, the walls, bearing symbols of both the AIADMK and the DMK, are a clear reflection of the division among the people over whom to vote for in the coming elections.
The AIADMK candidate here, M Kalairasan, MLA from 2011-2016, was previously a member of the PMK. However, he resigned from his post in January and joined the AIADMK party.
Squaring off against him is first-time candidate for the DMK, A P Nandhakumar.
In these four villages, Thellur, Semberi, Sekanoor and Kaniyambadi, both candidates are leading their campaigns with promises of proper drinking water supply and prohibition of alcohol.
In Thellur village, Vadivel, a beedi worker like many others in his village, begins to talk about how people have to walk about a kilometre to get drinking water from a tank. Gangan, 62, tries to shut him up by calling him a â€śDMK supporterâ€ť and claims that the water issue is not a big problem and the local officials are working to solve the problem. In turn, others call Gangan an â€śAIADMK supporterâ€ť.
This pattern repeated itself throughout the village. The Jayalalithaa supporters spoke about how their children were provided everything from slippers to notebooks to laptops under the welfare schemes. â€śThe AIADMK government has provided so many things for our children, and even given us household things like ration and grinders,â€ť said 35-year-old Suresh.
The Karunanidhi supporters in turn spoke about welfare schemes established during the DMK tenure. They talked about receiving television sets, old age pensions, gas cylinders and help with housing. Some even claimed that more houses were built in Kalaignarâ€™s time.
Talking about the small distance between both the parties in terms of welfare projects, Guru, 35, a hotel owner from Semberi village said, â€śOne party begins one project and then the other party comes and ends that project. Thatâ€™s what they do,â€ť he said. In this village too, people allege that drinking water comes once in 10 days.
â€śBoth the party candidates from AIADMK and DMK have been repeatedly coming to the village and promising to get us drinking water and bring prohibition of liquor,â€ť said Velvizhi, 45, the NREGA coordinator from Sekanoor village.
In Kaniyambadi village, some voters even sound disillusioned with the contest. â€śThe MLA only comes during election time to get the votes, but is of no help to us,â€ť says Alanchi, a 60-year-old labourer.