If the Vanniyars of PMK let them down in northern Tamil Nadu, gounders of western Tamil Nadu did not owe their allegiance to Edapaddi K Palaniswami, first from the community to occupy the Chief Minister’s seat.
Voting pattern of Mukkulathors in the Central and southern Tamil Nadu did not measure up to the loyalty they were claimed to demonstrate to AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran before the polls.
The voters have made those playing caste card to eat the humble pie. A cursory glance of the victory margin would suggest that the Vanniyar vote of PMK was not transferred to its allies AIADMK and DMDK in northern Tamil Nadu. Arani and Kallakurichi are a case in point.
Congress’ K Vishnu Prasad, brother in law of Anbumani Ramadoss, won by a whopping 2.30 lakh against AIADMK in Arani, while DMK’s Goutham Sigamani trumped L K Sudhish of DMDK by 3.99 lakh votes, both seats where the PMK is understood to wield considerable
Caste theories were thrown to the wind by Congress Dr Chellakumar who muscled out Vanniyar strongman K P Munusamy in the caste sensitive Krishnangiri by 1.56 lakh. A confidant PMK was shown its place by Vanniyar’s even its own backyard, Arakkonam and Dharampuri where it has suffered defeat at the hands of DMK’s Jagathrakshakan and Dr Senthil Kumar by 3.2 and over 64,000 votes respectively.
The fact that Gounder dominant areas of Namakkal, Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Erode and Pollachi stunned AIADMK would be a telling commentary of politics pushing caste to the backseat.
Curiously, the only oddity in the entire political scheme was Chidambaram where victory played hide and seek for VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan. Informed leaders in both camps admitted that result swayed between Thirumavalavan and P Chandrasekhar of AIADMK after every round of counting due to the overriding caste factor working against the Dalit leader who was projected as an enemy of intermediate castes by the casteist groups.
This, when VCK general secretary D Ravikumar had managed to secure a margin of over 1.2 lakh votes. The big number game of politics has cast a shadow over leaders like Palaniswami, Ramadoss and TTV Dhinakaran who were claiming to be representatives of their respective communities till a while ago.