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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 1: Tamil Nadu all set to vote, BJP hopes to gain foothold

Tamil Nadu will go to polls for all 39 seats on April 19 in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections with a triangular contest anticipated in the southern state.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Chennai Published on: April 18, 2024 23:25 IST
Lok Sabha Elections, phase 1, Tamil Nadu
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Representative image

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Phase 1: The first phase of the 18th Lok Sabha elections will be held on Friday (April 19) and Tamil Nadu is all set to vote in the first phase, with a triangular contest on the cards between the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The southern state has seen intense campaigning, heated debates, and notably, a vigorous effort from the BJP, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to establish a presence in the Dravidian stronghold, marking a significant aspect of the political landscape in 2024.

950 candidates in fray 

Elections to all the 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held on Friday and the fate of 950 candidates will be decided by about 6.23 crore voters who are set to exercise their franchise in nearly 68,000 polling stations.

The BJP aims to significantly advance its position in a state where it has never secured more than four seats. Its 2019 attempt was unsuccessful, with its ally AIADMK winning just one seat in Theni by a slim margin of 6.2 per cent. While the DMK-led alliance is hopeful of repeating its 2019 performance. The polls are also crucial for AIADMK which came out of BJP-led NDA in September last year.

Notably, the BJP is set to compete for 23 seats, with its smaller allies contesting the remaining 16 seats.

On the other hand, I.N.D.I.A. bloc partners Congress will contest on 9 seats and DMK will vie for 22 seats,  both the CPI and CPI(M) will contest in 2 seats each.

Prominent candidates and key constituency to watch out for in Tamil Nadu

  • Coimbatore: The hub of western Tamil Nadu is the most keenly watched constituency in the state this season. State BJP chief K Annamalai is in the poll fray from this seat and faces DMK leader Ganapathy P Rajkumar, a former mayor, and AIADMK's Singai Ramachandran. He also faces a challenge from the Tamil nationalist, Naam Tamilar Katchi in the four-way contest with anti-DMK-Congress votes split into three. Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan, who was the BJP candidate from Coimbatore in the past two Lok Sabha elections of 2019 and 2014, had suffered back-to-back defeats. The seat is currently held by CPI's PR Natarajan. In his manifesto for the constituency, Annamalai, who quit the IPS to join politics, promised the establishment of the Indian Institute of Management, the offices of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Coimbatore city.
  • Thoothukkudi: DMK's Kanimozhi is contesting against AIADMK's R Sivasami Velumani and Tamil Maanila Congress-Moopanar this time. Kanimozhi comfortably won the seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with a margin of 347,209 votes. He had defeated former Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan by over 3.47 lakh votes.
  • Chennai South: Incumbent DMK MP Tamizhachi Thangapandian will face former Telangana Governor and BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan, while the AIADMK has fielded ex-MP Dr J Jayavardhan, who won from here in 2014. The constituency has been a DMK stronghold with the party winning it five times. 
  • Chennai Central: This particular constituency is gearing up for a head-to-head electoral battle between the BJP and DMK. The former Union minister and current DMK MP are contending against the BJP's Vinoj P Selvam and DMDK's B Parthasarathy. Maran has previously secured victories in this constituency in 2004 and 2009 as well. Notably, he served as the Union Minister of Communications and Information Technology in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government back in 2004.
  • Nilgiris: The Nilgiris Lok Sabha Election of 2024 is set to witness a clash of political heavyweights, with Union Minister and BJP candidate L Murugan poised to compete against DMK's incumbent A Raja and AIADMK's D Lokesh Tamilselvan. The Nilgiris constituency has historically favoured the Congress, with seven victories, followed by the DMK with three wins, and the AIADMK and BJP each securing victory twice. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Raja emerged victorious, defeating AIADMK's Thiyagarajan with a significant margin of over 2 lakh votes. Raja garnered 5,47,832 votes.
  • Sivaganga: This constituency will witness a three-cornered contest with sitting Congress MP Karti Chidambaram taking on BJP's Devanathan Yadav, a businessman, and A Xavierd of AIADMK. Karti, son of former Union Minister P Chidambaram, is seeking victory from the seat for the third time. In the 2019 polls, his son Karti trounced BJP National Secretary H Raja with a big majority of around 3.3 lakh votes.
  • Ramanathapuram: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister O Paneerselvam (OPS), who is contesting as an independent candidate from this constituency. He is pitted against incumbent MP and IUML (ally of the DMK) candidate K Navaskani, as well as P Jeyaperumal of the AIADMK. BJP is supporting OPS in this election.  In the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, K Navaskani from IUML won the seat with a margin of 127,122 votes.
  • Virudhunagar: The contest in this constituency is between incumbent Congress MP B Manickam Tagore and two high-profile candidates- actor and producer Radikaa Sarathkumar of the BJP and V Vijayaprabhakaran of the DMDK, who is the son of late actor Vijayakant. The constituency known as the birthplace of K Kamraj, one of the tallest leaders in Tamil Nadu politics, lies adjacent to Madurai. Tagore has won twice from the constituency. 

What happened in 2019 elections?

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the DMK-led alliance secured a landslide victory in the state, capturing 38 out of the 39 seats. The DMK itself won 24 seats, while the Congress claimed eight, and both the CPI and CPM secured two seats each. Additionally, the VCK and IUML each won one seat. The BJP drew a blank in 2019.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: 'DMK, BJP failed to bring development in Tamil Nadu', says Palaniswami

Also Read: Annamalai's BJP may spring a surprise in Tamil Nadu, DMK-Congress ahead: India TV Opinion Poll
 

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