Karti banks on alliance strength in Sivaganga

This time, the fight for Sivaganga Lok Sabha is three-cornered – Congress’ Karti, son of Chidambaram, BJP’s firebrand leader H Raja and AMMK’s V Pandi are locking the horns. (DH File Photo)

Lack of water for irrigation purposes during non-monsoon months and unemployment of educated youth and women top the list of problems in this constituency that gave the country a high-profile finance and home minister by electing him seven times to the Lok Sabha since 1984.

The constituency comprises of Thirumayam, Alangudi, Karaikudi, Tirupattur, Sivaganga and Manamadurai (SC) assembly seats. People here feel that despite being one of the top ministers of UPA-I and UPA-II, P Chidambaram did not do much to solve problems faced by them.

Several persons with whom DH spoke to lamented about lack of industries, except a sugar factory outside Sivaganga, and employment opportunities for poor. In some villages, people complained that bus services, which were regular earlier, are now skeletal forcing many to depend on motorcycles.

This time, the fight for Sivaganga Lok Sabha is three-cornered – Congress’ Karti, son of Chidambaram, BJP’s firebrand leader H Raja and AMMK’s V Pandi are locking the horns. Both Karti and Raja lost the 2014 Lok Sabha election to AIADMK’s P R Senthilnathan.

Pandi, who belongs to the dominant Kallar community, enjoys considerable goodwill among people in few pockets with many recalling his "soft-spoken nature" and "good work" during his term as representative of a local body.

With Pandi hoping to cut into AIADMK votes, which should actually go to Raja if one goes by alliance dharma, the Congress might have a comfortable win – but if Pandi makes inroads into the Muslim vote bank, then Karti could land in trouble.

However, Chidambaram never lost an election whenever the Congress had an alliance with the DMK – he lost only once in 1999 when the TMC then led by veteran Congress leader G K Moopannar contested by cobbling up a Third Front. The party’s election managers hope that the alliance arithmetic would work this time as well resulting in Karti’s victory.

Likewise, the BJP nominee, whose party lacks any base here, is entirely dependent on major alliance partner, the AIADMK. While Raja’s penchant for stoking controversies might brew trouble, there isn’t much excitement about Karti’s candidature too among public. Even the AMMK nominee is "not known to all" in the constituency.

Outside a popular lodge in Sivaganga, a shopkeeper, who did not wish to be named, pinned all the blame on Chidambaram for Sivaganga not tasting fruits of development despite "owning a high-profile" Union Minister.

Farming is the major occupation in this region. Farmers want water from Vaigai River to reach Sivaganga and adjoining areas. A Congress sympathiser said that Chidambaram could have easily solved the water crisis when in power, but he didn't.

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Karti banks on alliance strength in Sivaganga

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