Tamil Nadu Assembly Election 2021 Bodinayakkanur LIVE Updates: The Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam (AIADMK ) also known as OPS had cut-throat competition against Thanga Tamil Selvan (DMK) is leading in the Bodinayakkanur constituency, as per the Election commission website as of 10:44 p.m.
OPS won with a margin of 7,676 over Thanga Tamil Selvan.
As per the Election commission website, O Panneerselvam received 54,552 votes while Thanga Tamil Selvan received 46,876 votes.
AMMK's M Muthusamy also contested from the Bodinayakkanur Assembly constituency but received only 1,176 votes.
But this time, the three candidates fighting for the Bodinayakkanur Assembly constituency seems to have one thing in common. O. Panneerselvam, Thanga Tamil Selvan and M Muthusamy have been Jayalalithaa loyalists. Panneerselvam had won from Bodinayakkanur in 2011 and 2016. So if he wins this there, it would be a hat-trick. In the year 2011, he defeated his DMK rival, S Lakshmanan, by around 30,000 votes, while in 2016, he defeated Lakshmanan by over 15,000 votes.
Panneerselvam was the chief minister’s twice in 2011 and 2017 when Jayalalithaa was in legal troubles, while Tamil Selvan resigned his MLA seat for her to contest and M Muthusamy fought for her victory.
Bodinayakkanur is one of the Assembly constituencies witnessing an interesting fight, where the three ‘Amma loyalists’ sweat it out to gain supremacy in the region.
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Both OPS and Thanga Tamil Selvan entered the Tamil Nadu Assembly for the first time in 2001 and caught the attention of the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Later after Amma’s death, Tamil Selvan switched sides from the AIADMK to T.T.V. Dhinakaran’s AMMK, when Palaniswami sidelined him. He later moved to the DMK after he lost to Panneerselvam’s son in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls in Theni. Even when both were there is the part, the rivalry between Panneerselvam and Selvan was obvious, and the two never saw eye to eye.
Panneerselvam in an interview with ANI had said, "Thanga Tamil Selvan was with AIADMK primarily. It is AIADMK that gave him positions and respect. Now he is with DMK. Earlier he was with AMMK. This itself proves he is the biggest 'rajdrohi' (traitor). Whichever party he goes to will fade away."
And fighting them is M. Muthusamy from the AMMK, a staunch Jayalalithaa loyalist once, but is now VK Sasikala supporter now.
Caste politics in Bodinayakkanur
The Vanniyar quota bill, which was passed in the Assembly minutes before the election date was announced, is the one big issue in Bodi haunting Panneerselvam.
Hours before the Election Commission announced dates for the assembly elections, the AIADMK government rushed a bill to provide an internal reservation of 10.5 percent to vanniyakula kshatriya community within the 20 percent quota for the Most Backward Classes. The announcement was made just 30 minutes before the EC presser. While the move helped the party firm up its alliance with PMK, it upset Thevar community leaders for providing an internal quota for the Vanniyars within 20 percent quota. Other caste groups within the Most Backward Communities (MBC) category are also not happy with the Vanniyars getting 10.5 percent out of the 20 percent reservation available to the MBC. In a bid to placate the community, OPS recently said he does not have any personal issues with VK Sasikala. Both Sasikala and Panneerselvam belong to the Thevar community and this vote bank is crucial for the AIADMK. "I have a lot of respect for VK Sasikala and I remain a loyal friend to her nephew and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran," he had said. His remarks were seen as an attempt to prevent a backlash in the Mukkulathor (Thevar)-dominated constituencies, including Bodinayakkanur which has a high concentration of the Thevar community.
Other than the three big names, P. Ganesh Kumar from Kamal Hassan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam and M. Prem Chandar from Seeman’s Naam Thamilar Katchi are also in the fray.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the 2021 Assembly elections.