DMK misses Raja in his backyard Perambalur

Perambalur (TN): He may be cooling his heels in Delhi`s Tihar Jail for his alleged involvement in the 2G scam, but the developmental work and the projects he executed in this reserved constituency are the main plank of the ruling DMK, which is facing a tough competition from arch-rival AIADMK.

However, the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam, which the CAG estimated had caused a loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the country`s exchequer, seems to have no impact at least in this constituency, which was nurtured by Raja over years after he became Perambalur MP in 1996. Perambalur adjoins Tiruchirappalli district.

Though a few educated and well-off people in Perambalur spoke about the 2G scam and its implications, people in rural areas like Velur, Raja`s native place, say they had no clue of what the scam was and how much money did the country lost.

People fondly remember Raja as a "good and humble" person who executed a number of development projects and brought several educational institutions to the district, which has never seen such facilities. He shifted to Nilgiris seat in 2009 after Perambalur became de-reserved in the delimitation exercise.

There is talk that Raja is being sidelined by the DMK but the party has nominated his loyalist M Prabhakaran as the candidate, who is seeking votes on the plank of developmental works implemented by the former Telecom Minister.

With Raja not in the scene and DMK stalwarts like M Karunanidhi and M K Stalin giving a miss to campaigning in this district, AIADMK workers are jubilant and feel that campaigning by their chief J Jayalalithaa and DMDK President Vijayakant would put them in an advantageous position.

DMK`s main poll plank seems to be the pet schemes of its government like free colour television sets, rice at Re 1 per kg and free houses and the "good work" done by Raja.

The party, which was initially hit by dissidence when Prabhakaran was chosen, has now set its house in order with all leaders, including the sitting MLA and others, campaigning for the party nominee.

The AIADMK cadres feel the 2G scam and the "anti-incumbency" wave against the DMK Government will help them wrest the seat from the ruling DMK, which has been winning the seat since 1996.

Several people whom PTI spoke to said they have not yet decided their preference and will do it only when they go to the polling both. Local journalists say the current mood in the constituency looks like "pro-AIADMK" but things could change.

One common complaint the villagers and people in Perambalur town is the frequent power cuts and rising prices.