Gobichettipalayam, popularly known as ‘Kutty Kodambakkam’, is a favourite among film makers and many Tamil, Telugu and even Hindi movies have been shot in its picturesque locales. Apart from this, agriculture and textile industries contribute majorly to the economy of the constituency.
The demography is dominated by the kongu vellala gounder community but there are a significant number of north Indians, gurkhas, malayalis, uralis, mudaliar, vanniyar, SC/ST, nadar, vettuvak gounder, modavandi gounder along with Muslims and Christians.
Congress has won the seat three times since the formation of the constituency in 1952 while Sudhandhira Party won once and DMK three times. AIADMK, which has a very stronghold in the constituency, emerged victorious eight times.
The sitting MLA and one of the major candidates in the constituency, K A Sengottaiyan, is contesting for the eighth time since 1980. He had won four times in a row before losing to DMK’s G B Vengidu in 1996. He, however, regained in seat in 2006 and retained it in the 2011 election.
“He served as the transport minister and is one of the most trusted persons of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa,” said an AIADMK party functionary, who did not want to be named.
He listed out various projects and schemes that were introduced by Sengottaiyan. Of them, some of the projects are a connecting bridge between Akkarai Kodiveri and Periya Kodiveri at a cost of Rs12 crore, a concrete base formed in Thadapalli-Arrakkankottai canal at a cost of Rs40 crore, new drinking water project initiated at a cost of Rs11.72 crore in Kavilipalayam, Karapadi and Vemandampalayam panchayats.
“He also introduced hundreds of new schemes and projects in the constituency,” the functionary added.
The Congress candidate S P Saravanan has served as the Erode district Panchayat president. He is quite popular among his voters as he is easily approachable. He is known to be close to Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president EVKS Elangovan.
“Many Congress functionaries have gone and joined Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) and we don’t have front line leaders to lead the campaign. It will be one of the major setbacks to us in this election,” said Congress partymen.
M Munusamy, representing CPI, is known for taking up farmers’ issues and leading them in protests. He is facing this election with the support from the DMDK-PWF-TMC alliance.
Residents of Gobichettipalayam still seem to favour Sengottaiyan and many openly voiced their intention to vote for him this time as well. “He had proved himself as a successful MLA for six times and has looked into our problems. He is a very down-to-earth individual and has fulfilled most of the promises that he had made to his voters,” said G Srinivasan, who works with a private company.
K M Marappa Gounder, a functionary in Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said most farmers were satisfied with what Sengottaiyan had done for them in the past 30 years. “We have seen him work since 1980 and we know very well about his performance. He had developed and improved this constituency in many ways,” he said.
When contacted by TOI, K A Sengottaiyan, who is a clear favourite, said that he had done a lot of work for this constituency. “I had introduced many projects and schemes for the benefit of the people. I must have met their expectations and so they give me a chance to serve them again and again,” he said.
He said that he would try his best to fulfil the long pending issues including desilting of Keeripallam canal, setting up a government polytechnic college in the constituency and permanent dump yard to handle solid waste management in Gobichettipalayam municipality.