Thoothukudi - the battleground of prestige between the two women heavyweight candidates - BJP state President Dr.Tamilisai Soundararajan battling DMK women's wing secretary Kanimozhi has seen a close battle with Kanimozhi winning the constituency by garnering 5,60,345 votes, as of 9:45 PM.
Both candidates had campaigned heavily making promises of providing jobs, infrastructure, bringing back industries and enhancing agriculture and fishing amenities in the coastal constituency. Another major poll strategy applied by both parties to woo the Devendrakula Vellalar communities was promising to fulfill their demand to bring seven sub-castes under one category.
The major issue which catapulted Thoothukudi into national limelight was the anti-Sterlite protests undertaken by the locals and environmental activists in 2018. In the fight against the expansion of a copper smelter of Sterlite Copper, a unit of the Vedanta group, over pollution concerns, 13 people perished when police opened fire at the protesters. Various political leaders like DMK chief M K Stalin, MNM chief Kamal Haasan and Rajnikanth have condemned the incident and have demanded the ruling government (AIADMK) to stop the expansion of the plant. Currently, the Madras High Court has ordered shut down of the plant after the bloody agitation. Vedanta has moved the SC for relief.
The above issue has been talked about by both candidates who have promised that the plant will stay shut ensuring the health concerns of the locals are addressed. Both candidates had also released infrastructure and development based manifesto for the constituency promising dams, hospitals, trains, and sea erosion preventive measures to woo the fishing communities.
While Soundararajan faced anti-incumbency and significant minority population as her major roadblock, late DMK supremo Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi faced the hurdle of overcoming DMK being labeled as anti-Hindu with Kanimozhi finally triumphing in the polls.
DMK and AIADMK both have won one Lok Sabha polls each. In 2014, the AIADMK’s Jeyasingh Thiyagaraj Natterjee had won with a margin of 1.24 lakh votes, while in 2009, S.R. Jeyadurai of the DMK had won by a margin of 76,549 votes.
Thoothukudi polled in the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 18.
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