Irked over the granting of reservation to the Vanniyars, the Chettiar communities of Tamil Nadu have threatened to boycott the forthcoming Assembly elections and also said that they would file a case in the Madras High Court against it.
A joint association of Chettiar communities, Federation of Kongu Chettiars and Sozhliya Chettiar Association, an outfit representing the Kongu, Shozliya, Nilgiri and Kuruguni Chettiars, has announced the boycotting of the upcoming Assembly elections.
The joint association announced that they have already given representations to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappady K Palaniswami as well as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin against the “injustice” meted out to them.
Recently, the Vanniyar community was granted 10.5 per cent reservation under Most Backward Classes (MBC) leaving another 40 similar communities without any reservation. The ruling AIADMK, which aims at holding on to Tamil Nadu in the Assembly elections on April 6, is playing all the cards up its sleeve. The AIADMK-led government signed an order providing 10.5 per cent reservation under extreme backward class category to the Vanniyar community following the recommendation from Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) the political arm of the Vanniyyars, just half an hour before the election notification was announced by the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi. This is noteworthy as the Vanniyar community and its political wing PMK, is extremely cadre based, and mostly vote in totality for the party or the front it supports.
In addition to its traditional voter base of North Tamil Nadu, the Vanniyar community has a strong presence in a few places in Western Tamil Nadu including Salem district.
Northern Tamil Nadu has a strong presence of DMK in Tamil Nadu politics and if the AIADMK wants to hit that equation it will have to have a strong political alliance with the PMK and the Vanniyar community.
However, the Chettiar community’s significant presence in areas like Coimbatore, Erode, Salem areas will be an issue to be sensitively handled by the AIADMK government.
Babu Padmanabhan, the coordinator of the joint association, talking to a news agency said, "Yes we have held a meeting of our four communities and we have called for the intervention of both Chief Minister K Palaniswami and the DMK President MK Stalin to remove this 10.5 per cent reservation under the MBC category to the Vanniyar community which is totally unacceptable."
He added, "While there are 40 other communities under this category, the state government has given reservation status only to the Vanniyar community as they are an organised vote bank and this is not acceptable. We are moving the high court and will also boycott the elections if an amicable settlement is not reached."