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Vengavayal to Chennai’s Ennore: A list of people in TN boycotting Lok Sabha polls

With multiple discontentments arising from across the state, several voters have decided or have threatened to boycott the LS 2024 polls.

As Tamil Nadu gears up to vote in the Lok Sabha elections 2024 on Friday, April 19, residents across the state, disenchanted for various reasons, have threatened to boycott the elections. While the residents of villages in Vengavayal in Pudukottai district are boycotting the polls as the culprits who mixed human faeces in drinking water are yet to be nabbed, the residents of Ennore in Chennai are unhappy as the government has not ordered the permanent closure of the Coromandel International Limited plant, which was responsible for the ammonia gas leak in 2023. 

Here is a list of places, where people are threatening to boycott the election:

Vengavayal and Eraiyur villages of Pudukottai 

The residents of Vengavayal and Eraiyur villages in Pudukkottai district, where more than 30 Dalit families reside, have threatened to boycott the elections since the CB-CID probe which was launched in early 2023 is yet to find the culprit(s) who had mixed human faeces in the tank that holds drinking water. The incident took place in 2022. The CB-CID had been conducting tests on some suspects, but their investigation has not made any breakthroughs.

Ennore, Chennai

Residents from 33 villages of Ennore who have been protesting for over 115 days demanding the permanent closure of the Coromandel International Limited (CIL) plant have also threatened to boycott the upcoming polls. Ammonia gas leaked from CIL’s facility in December 20203, resulting in the hospitalisation of 42 people.

Chennai’s Kannappar Thidal

Around 128 families from Kannappar Thidal, a shelter that was constructed more than 22 years ago in Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency, will boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The residents belonging mostly to Scheduled Caste (SC) communities have been living in cramped shelters with no toilet or sanitation facilities for over two decades, with the promise of being awarded permanent housing by successive governments.

Otteri Thideer Nagar

Seven hundred families who reside in Thideer Nagar, a densely populated slum located in Zone 8 of Greater Chennai Corporation, have threatened to boycott the upcoming polls since the slum lacks sanitation facilities. The slum has no toilets and the residents are forced to use ill-kept public washrooms. The residents have also alleged that they don’t have access to clean drinking water since the corporation, despite repeated requests, has not cleaned their water storage tank.

Villages of Nagapattinam

Villages located in three panchayats, including Panangudi, Narimanam, and Gopurajapuram of Nagapattinam district, have threatened not to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections. This is because the Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited (CPCL), which is acquiring 700 acres of land from farmers from these villages, has allegedly not offered “fair” compensation to the residents, and the CPCL has not taken into consideration the demands of the residents to offer alternate employment opportunities.

14 Dalit colonies in Tirunelveli

Around 14 Dalit colonies in Radhapuram Taluk, Tirunelveli, have announced that they will be boycotting the upcoming polls. The residents of the colonies highlighted that they were banned from entering a local temple and added that they had been facing discrimination and humiliation due to their caste identity for 38 years. Citing inaction by the officials, they have decided not to vote, residents announced.

Tribal hamlets from Tirupathur 

Around 17,000 voters from 32 tribal hamlets in Tirupathur, Tamil Nadu, have decided to boycott the polls since they have been denied basic amenities. According to the residents, several people have died on the way to hospitals since there are no roads that connect the challenging terrain to Thirupathur town, and there are no means to purchase basic rations during monsoons in these remote hamlets.  

Tribal hamlets in Udumalaipettai 

Tribal hamlets located in Kuzhipatti and Kurumalai in Udumalaipettai have threatened to boycott elections since no roads have been laid in 75 years to connect these hamlets to the hospital located in Udumalaipettai town. The residents threatened to boycott after a pregnant woman who was in labour pain had to be carried in a cloth cradle by residents for three hours to reach the Udumalaipettai Government Hospital on April 9. 

Mothakkal village of Thiruvannamalai

Over 500 voters belonging to the Adi Dravidar community in Mothakkal village of Thiruvannamalai have raised black flags and banners announcing that they will boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha elections due to their long-standing grievances, including that of lack of basic facilities and discrimination. Their primary demand is that they need a common graveyard for the community. They also alleged that caste Hindus of the village and the panchayat president discriminated against them by denying them access to roads leading to the burial ground.

Thoothukudi district 

The Union government had released an e-tender for a graphite mining project at Kurunjakulam, located on Virudhunagar and Tenkasi district borders, in November 2023. The farmers who reside in close proximity to Kurunjakulam, including in Vembakottai taluk in Virudhunagar district, Sankarankovil and Thiruvengadam taluks in Tenkasi and Kazhugumalai, Olayarasanendal and Kovilpatti in Thoothukudi, have been protesting against it as they fear displacement. They have also highlighted that the project will significantly affect the groundwater levels and that it will have an impact on their livelihood as they are dependent on agriculture. They are, hence, threatening to boycott the polls.

Thirumangalam municipality, Madurai 

 Residents of Thirumangalam municipality in Madurai along with members of traders and motorist associations in the area have threatened to boycott the polls over the construction of Kappalur Toll Plaza. According to the residents, the Kappalur toll plaza has been built in violation of regulations as it is located two kilometres away from Thirumangalam municipality although according to rules and regulations, toll plazas should be constructed five kilometres away from the municipality area.

Villages in Talavadi Hills, Erode

Villages from Iggalur, Neithalapuram and Seshan Nagar, located in Erode district, have threatened to boycott Lok Sabha polls due to an increase in human-animal conflict in the area. The villages, located inside the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, have said that wild elephants have been entering their villages, damaging crops and killing farmers. The residents also live in fear as they are prone to attacks by leopards and tigers and have requested the Forest Department to strengthen the elephant-proof-trenches and have been asking for rail barricades to be installed at the forest’s borders, all of which have been ignored. 

Malaimavatta Siru Vivasayikalnala Sangam in Nilgiris

In Nilgiris, the Malaimavatta Siru Vivasayikal Nala Sangam declared that they would boycott the elections as their demands to increase the minimum auction price for tea powder to Rs 200 per kg from Rs 50-Rs 80 are unaddressed.

Gobirasipuram in Coimbatore

Residents of Gobirasipuram village in Annur Taluk of Coimbatore district have announced that they would boycott the elections as a mark of protest against the exclusion of a 3.5-acre pond in Gobirasipuram village from the Athikadavu-Avinashi Groundwater Recharge Project. Officials have stated that the pond is excluded because of an objection from a landowner, who refused to permit laying pipelines through the property that was earlier included in the project to get surplus water from River Bhavani during the rainy season. As per the Water Resources Department, the project was all set for implementation from September 2023. However, officials from the Department claimed that they had excluded the pond from the project citing an objection by a private landowner adjacent to the pond. The residents have also erected banners prohibiting political canvassing in the areas

Sembonkudi of Mayiladuthurai

Dalit residents of Sembonkudi village in Namasivayapuram panchayat threatened to boycott the elections unless they were granted equal rights to worship at a local temple managed by the HR&CE department. They accused caste Hindu members of denying them the right to perform worship rituals at the Mariamman temple. Revenue and police officials have promised to address the issue.

Perambalur district and Chidambaram town

Hairdressers in Perambalur and Chidambaram constituencies have announced that they will boycott the forthcoming general elections due to persistent caste discrimination despite repeated appeals to political parties to address them. They also demanded inclusion into the Tamil Nadu Unorganised Workers Welfare Board.

Gudiyatham, Kalasapakkam, and Vandavasi

Residents of Gudiyatham in Tirupattur district have threatened to boycott the elections if their demand for the merger of their villages with the Madhanur panchayat union is not met. These villages were originally part of Madhanur before Vellore district's trifurcation in 2019, and now the residents insist on reintegration.

In Kalasapakkam near Tiruvannamalai, Sengaputheri villagers demand the restoration of their polling booth, which was relocated 4 km away from them. They say that this relocation causes inconvenience to senior citizens, women, and the sick.

In Vandavasi taluk, Kilsathamangalam residents state they lack basic civic amenities like roads, street lights, water supply, and waste management. As their grievances are not addressed despite their repeated appeals, they contemplate boycotting the election.

Tirukanoorpatti of Thanjavur

More than 500 families living in MGR Nagar of Tirukanoorpatti in Thanjavur have said that they wouldn’t cast their votes in the elections as they do not have any basic amenities, including drinking water, roads, and even pattas. They alleged that they have approached the officials for close to two decades and no action has been taken yet.

Coimbatore residents from ward 55, 56

Residents from CTC Colony, Chinnasamy Layout, Kannan Nagar, Kamakshi Nagar, Meenakshi Amman Nagar, Sreenivasa Nagar, Surya Nagar, Sivalingapuram and Senthil Nagar have threatened to boycott the upcoming polls due to an inordinate delay in beginning the construction of a bridge across a railway line. The bridge was sanctioned 13 years ago.

Ward 3 residents of Pappireddipatti town in Dharmapuri 

The residents of ward 3 in Pappireddipatti town of Dharmapuri have threatened to boycott elections as their water supply is saline, contaminated and unsuitable for consumption. They have demanded that they should be provided water under the Hogenakkal drinking water supply scheme.

Madurai vegetable vendors

The vegetable vendors of Madurai, who were awarded temporary shops in the Mattuthavani area with a promise of being allocated permanent shops for more than six years, have said that they will be boycotting the polls along with their families. The temporary shops set up by the corporation do not have toilet facilities and lack parking facilities.

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