It is keen on fielding its state vice-president Nainar Nagenthran from this segment
While seat-sharing talks with the ruling AIADMK has not yet begun, the BJP on Tuesday started its electioneering in Tirunelveli Assembly constituency in a big way with a bike rally and opening its election office.
The national party is keen on fielding its state vice-president and Tirunelveli Assembly constituency (in-charge) Nainar Nagenthran, a former AIADMK minister, who had contested from the constituency on four occasions on an AIADMK ticket and won in 2001 and 2011.
When BJP state president L. Murugan met the party functionaries here recently, Mr. Nagenthran had said: “BJP’s first victory in the Assembly election should be declared in Tirunelveli which should be followed by the positive results from other constituencies later.”
Tuesday’s rally from Thatchanallur Perumal Temple to Tirunelveli Junction and the grand opening of party’s election office by Mr Murugan at Hotel Nainar Complex, owned by Mr. Nagenthran, are seen as reflecting the BJP’s aspiration of fielding its candidate in the seat.
“If you can identify the BJP’s winnable Assembly constituencies, Tirunelveli comes within top three seats. Mr. Nagenthran, who has sound knowledge about this Assembly segment, its voters and the election strategies, is a good choice for Tirunelveli constituency. When he lost the elections (2006 and 2016), the margins were thin while his victory margins were massive. Hence, we have started the work even before the poll notification. We do not want to be short of doing the election work,” says A. Dhaya Shankar, former Tirunelveli district president of BJP and the constituency coordinator.
The ‘Lotus’ wall graffiti drawn across the constituency in saffron colour showed the BJP’s intent.
He said BJP cadres would meet the beneficiaries of Union Government’s welfare schemes such as the families that had received LPG connection or grant for constructing individual household toilet and both. The BJP has planned to meet the ‘community leaders’ and women voters, apart from local ‘influencers’.
Mr. Dhaya Shankar, however, acknowledges, that the party is cognisant of any last minute change in seat allotment.
Simultaneously, the AIADMK also entered the fray on Tuesday by pasting posters in constituency urging people to ‘Vote for Two Leaves that gave free gold for mangalsutra’.
“The BJP’s strategy is nothing but exerting pressure on the AIADMK to part with the seat. This cannot be accepted. We have strong presence here and we are keen that our candidate should be fielded. We have a better candidate,” said a senior office-bearer of the party. He cautioned that that the BJP’s approach could strain the relationship between the cadres during the electioneering.