The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) is upbeat after the rural areas in Tamil Nadu witnessed a higher voter turnout as compared to urban voting centres during the Assembly elections held on April 6.
AIADMK leader M. Senthilnathan said, “AIADMK have an edge in rural areas as the higher voter percentage there shows that the people in the villages have come out in large numbers to vote. As I have said earlier, there is no anti-incumbency factor against the AIADMK government and this is working in our favour.”
While Kallakurichi recorded the highest polling with 78 per cent, Namakkal had the second largest turnout with 77.9 per cent, Ariyallur had 77.88 per cent, Karur 77.6 per cent, Dharmapuri had a turnout of 77.23 per cent and Perambalur had a voter turnout of 77.08 per cent.
Chennai district had the least voter turnout with 59.4 per cent followed by Chengalpet on the outskirts of Chennai with 62.77 per cent, Tirunelveli with 65.16 per cent, Coimbatore with 66.98 per cent, Ramanathapuram with 67.16 per cent and Tirupur with 67.48 per cent.
The higher voter turnout in rural voting centres seems to favour the AIADMK as the party leadership was expecting silent support for the party in the villages of Tamil Nadu while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) had banked its hopes on the voters in urban areas.
However, DMK leaders have put up a brave face amid the reduced polling percentage in urban voting centres and the tall claims by the AIADMK.
Durai Murugan, DMK Organising Secretary and senior party leader, said, “We are equally strong in urban and rural areas and generally there is a lethargy in the urban areas which is not a new phenomenon. Several factors have drawn the urban voters back while the village populace had properly utilised their democratic responsibility. However, as far as the DMK is concerned, we are least bothered as we are strong in both urban and rural voting centres of Tamil Nadu.”
The 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community under the Most Backward Community (MBC) category and the 7.5 per cent reservation in medical colleges for students from government schools is another factor which has worked in favour of the AIADMK front in rural Tamil Nadu. The party leadership is of the opinion that the higher voter turnout in rural areas is a clear reflection of these factors.
The senior leaders of the AIADMK, including Chief minister Edappady K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief minister O. Panneerselvam, had contested elections in their traditional rural bastions of Edapaddi and Theni while the senior leader of the DMK and its chief ministerial candidate, MK Stalin, had contested from the city constituency of Kolathur.
The presence of the AIADMK stalwarts from their respective home turfs have helped the party get a foothold in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and the higher voting percentage in rural constituencies of the state is giving a fillip to the AIADMK, according to party sources.