When the election results for Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore constituency stream in, the skies of either Lucknow or Ahmedabad will light up and reverberate with the colours and sounds of firecrackers. 

BJP’s state president, K Annamalai, an alumnus of IIM Lucknow, is pitted against Singai Ramachandran of the AIADMK, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. It is widely expected that one of the two will win, though, as of today, Annamalai is said to be holding an edge. Coimbatore City is happy that they will get a suave, educated MP. 

Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency candidate Singai G. Ramachandran

Coimbatore Lok Sabha constituency candidate Singai G. Ramachandran | Photo Credit: Siva Saravanan S

Of course, DMK too has put up a candidate, Ganapathi P Rajkumar, who is not a pushover either. But the former Coimbatore mayor’s chances are said to be less, not in the least because the archrivals DMK and AIADMK (are suspected to) have a tacit understanding to defeat Annamalai — based on which DMK has chosen a candidate with a lower profile. 

Such a behind-the-back handshake is not without precedent, analysts say. TTV Dhinakaran, who splintered from AIADMK, won hugely in the now-famous ‘RK Nagar bye-election’ in December 2017, causing the DMK candidate to lose his deposit. DMK is constantly taunted over this, but analysts believe that DMK deliberately let Dhinakaran win to weaken AIADMK, which he did by forming a party, Amma Makkal Munnetra Katchi (AMMK), today a BJP ally that is contesting in two constituencies. 

The fourth candidate in Coimbatore, Kalamani Jaganathan, 33, is the sister of the Chief Co-ordinator of Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NKT), Seeman. She contested in the 2021 assembly elections from the Kavundanpalayam constituency and came fourth with 17,000-odd votes. 

BJP’s ‘green man’ in Krishnagiri 

BJP is fielding a ‘green man’ as its candidate in Krishnagiri. C Narasimhan is the Chairman of the Raasi group of companies, which has interests in solar power and is working towards setting up a lithium-ion battery plant. He has been the president of the Indian Solar Association and is a regular speaker at renewable energy conferences. Narasimhan was an MP earlier, as a Tamil Maanila Congress candidate, in 1996. 

Krishnagiri constituency has 15.30 lakh registered voters; the industrially significant Hosur falls within the constituency. It is said that Narasimhan’s main rival will be V Jayaprakash of AIADMK. The DMK-led block has fielded K Gopinath of the Congress party, replacing its own incumbent, Dr A Chellakumar, who is the sitting MP. An interesting contestant is Vidyarani Veerappan, daughter of the elephant poacher and forest brigand, Veerappan, who was killed by the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force in October 2004 (when Vidyarani was 14). 

Analysts say the fight is evenly poised between Narasimhan and Jayaprakash. Krishnagiri has a sizeable vanniyar community, hence the support of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) may put some wind behind Narasimhan’s sails. 

Family politics 

In the Dharmapuri constituency, the buzz is that the winds are favouring Sowmiya Anbumani of the PMK, a party of the vanniyar community. PMK is part of the BJP-led coalition. Sowmiya is the wife of Anbumani Ramadoss, President of PMK, and former Union health minister. Her brother is Dr MK Vishnu Prasad, sitting MP from Arani and the Congress candidate from Cuddalore, who is also expected to win. So, the next Lok Sabha could see sister and brother sitting on opposite sides. 

Sowmiya and Vishnu Prasad are the children of M Krishnaswamy, a former President of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee, a former MP from Arani, and a former Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation. Krishnaswamy’s father-in-law was also a Congress MLA.