Vellore LS polls on Monday

Lok Sabha polls to Vellore constituency, which was rescinded in April due to the seizure of crores of rupees, will be held on Monday in a high-stakes battle between the ruling AIADMK and Opposition DMK. This is the first election in Tamil Nadu after the DMK made a comeback in the Lok Sabha polls by winning 37 out of the 38 seats that went to the hustings. 

The polls would show whether the anti-Modi wave in Tamil Nadu that bucked the national trend will repeat yet again or the AIADMK would get a chance to display its political prowess in this constituency. The DMK and the AIADMK have pulled every stop to turn the tide in favour of them by fielding all their senior leaders and party functionaries in Vellore, where Muslim votes would play the key role in deciding the winner. 

The polls in Vellore were rescinded on April 16, two days before the state went to elections on April 18, due to allegations of rampant use of money power and recovery of huge amounts of cash from a godown linked to a person close to the DMK candidate. 

Both the DMK and AIADMK have repeated their candidates – Kadhir Anand and A C Shanmugham – and the constituency will face a direct contest between the Rising Sun and Two Leaves symbol. Polling will begin at 7 am and end at 6 pm during which more than 10 lakh voters are eligible to cast their vote, while counting of votes would take place on August 9.

If the DMK wins, the party's strength would increase to 24, while the line AIADMK member O P Ravindranath will have a company if the party wins.  

The election will also serve as yet another acid test for the DMK which is under pressure to win the seat for a variety of reasons – the candidate is the son of its treasurer Durai Murugan and a victory would send a message that Tamil Nadu would still reject the BJP whatsoever the party’s position in Delhi.

Also, the election will also put to test the popularity of DMK President M K Stalin, who camped in the constituency for nearly a week and canvassed for votes in favour of Kadhir. The Lok Sabha victory in May was DMK's first success in a decade -- it last won the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and lost two assembly polls in 2011 and 2016 and 2014 general elections. 

The DMK has used the Triple Talaq Bill passed by the Parliament to pain the AIADMK alliance, in which BJP is a part, as “anti-Muslim women” in a constituency dominated by Muslims. The AIADMK, keeping in mind the Muslim votes, had staged a walkout before the Bill was out to vote in Rajya Sabha despite it supporting the legislation in Lok Sabha. 
 

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