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Lok Sabha elections 2024: Unemployment, better infrastructure dominate poll battle in Trichy

According to N Selvam, a farmer from Tiruchirappalli, ryots and even small entrepreneurs find it difficult to obtain export licences owing to the tedious procedures including furnishing a plant quarantine certificate for exporting the vegetables.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 06:02 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 06:02 IST

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Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu: Behind its image of an alluring urbanscape surrounded by farmlands, Tiruchirappalli has its own cup of woes.

Rising unemployment, farmers' difficulty in stepping up exports, and the issue of acquiring land for the airport project are among the numerous issues that dominate the election this April 19 in Tiruchirappalli, a major hub connecting the southern districts, and even the delta districts.

The perennial Cauvery water crisis and lack of export prospects loom large on the face of farmers. And summer is invariably the time when the Cauvery river water level dwindles.

According to N Selvam, a farmer from Tiruchirappalli, ryots and even small entrepreneurs find it difficult to obtain export licences owing to the tedious procedures including furnishing a plant quarantine certificate for exporting the vegetables.

“The quarantine certificate must mention the pesticides and chemical fertilisers used. This would not be possible as many farmers utilised pesticides and chemical fertilisers,” he said with concern.

He further said that securing international standard certification, export packing techniques, labelling, food processing machinery besides food licences were complicated.

AIADMK candidate Karuppiah has assured to increase the cashew exports from Gandharvakottai and also address the farmers’ concerns if he was elected.

He is banking mostly on his party’s image and performance in introducing pro-farmer initiatives especially on linking of rivers, desilting and maintaining water bodies and protecting the state’s rights over Cauvery water row with Karnataka.

“I will take steps to implement the Gundar-Cauvery river linking project and take steps to remove the hurdles in acquiring land for the airport project,” he told PTI.

“Unemployment is the major issue in the district as jobs in the PSUs such as the BHEL and Ordinance Factory have drastically reduced over the years,” claimed Durai Vaiko, the MDMK candidate and son of party chief Vaiko, who is making a debut in electoral politics.

The seat was ceded by Congress to MDMK during the seat-sharing negotiation agreement with the DMK paving the way for the MDMK to contest again from this constituency after nearly two decades. The party’s senior L Ganesan had won from the constituency in 2004.

“About 23,000 people used to work at BHEL before Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power a decade ago. But now only 7,000 people are working there,' said Durai.

Similarly, the number of employees declined to 4,000 from 17,000 10 years ago, at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Ponmalai, he pointed out.

And of them, those from Tamil Nadu account for about 1,500, he added.

The Ponmalai or Golden Rock workshop is among the three such ones serving the Indian Railway's southern region.

'This is just a sample. Not only Tiruchirappalli, but also in other places in the country the situation is similar at all the central PSUs,” Durai claimed.

Things would change in Tiruchirappalli and the rest of India only if the INDIA alliance captured power, he said.

Senthilnathan, the AMMK candidate is contesting from here in alliance with the BJP and he has assured to promote IT industries and make Tiruchirappalli a model constituency.

Seeman’s NTK candidate “Jallikattu” Rajesh is also in the fray in the constituency that has six assembly segments including Tiruchirappalli East, Tiruchirappalli West, Srirangam, Tiruverumbur, Pudukkottai and Gandharvakottai.

The MDMK is comfortably placed as it enjoys the support of the DMK, Congress and the left parties.

State Ministers K N Nehru and Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, determined to ensure a victory to Durai, join him in campaign trail explaining the achievements of the DMK government. Vaiko too hectically campaigns for his son in the constituency.

This seat has been giving a mixed bag of surprises in allowing the DMK to win only in the 1980 election when the party’s N Selvaraj emerged the winner. Thereafter L Adaikalraj had a free run winning the seat thrice as Congress candidate and for the fourth term in a row as candidate from TMC (M).

BJP’s Rangarajan Kumaramangalam wrested the seat from Congress and won the 1998 and 1999 elections.

For the first time in 2004, MDMK’s L Ganesan registered a victory and in the two elections that followed (in 2009 and 2014) AIADMK’s P Kumar retained his supremacy.

However, in the 2019 general election, Congress leader Su Thirunavukkarasar emerged victorious after his party aligned with the DMK.

After 2004, MDMK gets an opportunity to field its candidate and this time with the strong backing of the DMK, Congress, and the Left parties.

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Published 14 April 2024, 06:02 IST

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