High hopes for TN BJP in Virudhunagar with actor Raadhika Sarathkumar contesting

Chennai, April 4 (IANS) The Virudhunagar Lok Sabha constituency, where popular south Indian actor Raadhika Sarathkumar is contesting on a BJP ticket, has emerged as one of the four top winnable seats for the party.

BJP is focussing on four seats in Tamil Nadu: Coimbatore, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli and Kanniyakumari.

Raadhika and her husband, top Tamil actor, Sarathkumar merged their All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi with BJP during the run-up to the elections, and Raadhika is now contesting the seat on a BJP ticket. Sarathkumar was a Rajya Sabha member and also a legislator.

BJP has put its stake high in the constituency, which is home to the fireworks industry. This industry is the largest in the country with a volume of Rs 6,000 crore and employs more than one lakh people directly and indirectly. This industry will have a major say in the elections.

BJP is banking on the popularity of Raadhika, who has been a top heroine of southern movies.

In the 2019 general elections, Congress candidate Manickam Tagore won by a majority of 1,54,554 votes, defeating the nearest DMDK rival, R. Alagarsamy in this constituency.

Raadhika Sarathkumar is facing sitting MP, Manickam Tagore and V. Vijaya Prabhakaran, son of late Tamil superstar Vijayakanth, who is contesting on a DMDK ticket.

The principal opposition party in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK, which was part of NDA in 2019 Lok Sabha polls and 2021 Assembly elections, is now not aligned with BJP.

Zacharias Joseph, a political analyst based out of Madurai, while speaking to IANS said: “BJP fielding Raadhika Sarathkumar was a master stroke and the party has advanced much due to this move. While DMDK candidate Vijaya Prabhakaran is a new entrant, his father late Tamil superstar Vijayakanth is highly popular in the region. Manickam Tagore of the Congress being a sitting MP, Virudhunagar will witness a tough three-cornered fight."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be speaking at a public programme in Virudhunagar constituency on April 14, and the BJP leadership is expecting a huge leap in its fortunes.

Raadhika Sarathkumar, while speaking to IANS, said: "BJP is in the lead and we are working like a well-oiled machine. The constituency lacks development and there are a lot of things to do here. You can see for yourself the huge public response to our programmes. The Prime Minister's visit will be the game changer and we are in winning mode."

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