Cong banks on secular agenda in hosiery town

It is a “do or die” situation for former Union minister for Commerce and senior Congress leader E V K S Elangovan, who won the seat in 2004 when it was called Gobichettipalayam. He was pitted against his “best friend” and another former MP K Subbarayan of CPI, who was also a two time MLA.

With former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, former Congress state president K V Thangkabalu and Shipping Minister G K Vasan opting out of the poll race after the Congress was isolated in the state, Elangovan is putting up a brave face here and trying his luck this time again, banking on the secular agenda. 

Known as the hosiery town, the constituency was famous for spinning, dyeing, bleaching, handloom and powerloom units. The closure of dyeing units following zero discharge norms, coupled with drinking water problem and power cuts, casts a shadow on the outcome of the poll results.

The presence of Sathyabhma (AIADMK), M Senthilnathan  (DMK), Dinesh Kumar (DMDK) and Chakravarty Rajagopalan (AAP) makes it a multi-cornered contest in the constituency, which has six Assembly segments viz., Gobichettipalayam, Perundurai, Andhiyur, Bhavani, Tiruppur North and Tiruppur South. Tiruppur has a total electorate of 13,38,568 of which 6,59,332 are women. Barring Tiruppur South, which was won by CPM in the May 2011 Assembly polls, the remaining five segments were bagged by AIADMK, strengthening the chances of Sathyabhama.

But Elangovan, talking to Deccan Herald, sees it as a direct contest between him and the CPI candidate. “I see it as a straight fight between me and my best friend Subbarayan,” he said.

Branding BJP as communal, he said the saffron party was trying to divide the nation on religious and caste lines, which in turn poses a threat to the country’s integrity. He agreed that the closure of dyeing units was a major issue as well as power cuts and drinking water problems.   Stating that setting up of effluent treatment plants and transporting the treated wastes from the dyeing units straight into the sea was the only solution, Elangovan said this project was in the Union Textile Minister’s mind.

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