The backward Namakkal constituency is witnessing a four-cornered contest as it prepares to go to polls on April 24.
Former union minister of state for health and the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate S Gandhiselvan has an onerous task in retaining the seat, as he faces stiff opposition from the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) of actor-turned-politician Vijayakanth and the Congress.
AIADMK has named former State Minister and two time MLA P R Sundaram as its nominee, while the DMDK has fielded S K Vel.
G R Subramaniam is the Congress candidate here. Votes of the predominant Kongu Velalar Gounder community in the constituency are likely to split as all the four belong to it.
Rasipuram (Reserve), Paramathivellore, Sankagiri, Senthamangalam (Reserve), Tiruchengode and Namakkal Assembly segments come under this Lok Sabha seat, which has a total electorate of 13,05,475, including 6,55,827 women. AIADMK’s Sundaram was elected from Rasipuram in 1996 and 2001 Assembly elections. Interestingly, he was one of the first to be declared elected from the constituency in 1996, when AIADMK was voted out of power and could bag just four seats.
Despite retaining the seat in 2001, Sundaram was not given ticket in the subsequent Assembly polls. The fact that he is back in the electoral fray, this time to the Parliament, is evidence of his growing clout within his community.
"People have not forgotten the 2G spectrum scam. Therefore, DMK will face the same fate here (as in the 2011 Assembly polls)", Vel said.