The Chidambaram (reserved) constituency, where the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol. Thirumavalavan was a key contestant, witnessed a see-saw battle right through the counting of votes on Thursday.
In a constituency where caste plays a key role with Vanniyars and Dalits being the dominant players, Mr.Thirumavalavan had a nerve-racking fight with the AIADMK’s P. Chandrasekar.
The Dalit leader who started with a slender lead of 1,053 at the end of the first round fell back in subsequent rounds. P. Chandrasekar of the AIADMK managed a cumulative lead of 2,091 votes by the end of the second round and maintained small leads of a few hundreds until Mr.Thirumavalavan staged a come back in round 11 and went to build on it. But Mr. Chandrasekar turned the tables again and contest promised was set to go to the wire.
The constituency spreads over six Assembly segments of Kunnam, Ariyalur and Jayankondam in Ariyalur district and Bhuvanagiri,Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil in Cuddalore district. Polling in the constituency was marred by an attack on Scheduled Caste residents in Ponparappi village in Ariyalur district on voting day. Mr. Thirumavalavan and others had demanded re-poll in the constituency but the demand was rejected on the grounds as a majority of the residents were said to have exercised their franchise prior to the attack.
Mr. Thirumavalavan had lost to AIADMK’S M. Chandrakasi by more than one lakh votes in the 2014 election in the constituency in a four-cornered contest with the PMK and Congress candidates also in the fray. He had won the seat in 2009.
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