Pre election Scenario
Within a short period the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress gained immense popularity among the masses. This angered the Nairs and it also posed as a threat to their power. They began to attack the members of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. The sympathizers, volunteers and leaders of this party were shoved. Their lives and property were at risk. Attacks were widespread in Kalkulam and Vilavancode Taluks. The government supported the Nairs. However the victory of the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress could not be thwarted by State Congress in the Southern Taluks in the 1948 Assembly Elections.
Atrocities of the State Congress were known to the government. In order to stop the growth of the Nadars the government created a lot of disturbances to them. Those who were involved in the party activities were denied service opportunities. Those Tamilians who were employed earlier in government posts were denied promotions. In the Tamil regions, Malayalees were appointed by the government. Government did not allow the Weavers Advisory Committee of Kalkulam and Vilavancode to function, as they were suspected to be the supporters of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. Developmental projects like construction of dams were stalled by the government. Reserve Police were equipped with weapons and roamed about the Tamil areas in police vans and created terror among Tamilians. Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress experienced difficulties in holding party line meetings. The volunteers of the State Congress created lot of trouble.
The Brahmapuram meeting of the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress was banned on 14 November1947. However the people who had assembled marched back to their houses peacefully. On their way home they were beaten and wounded by State Congress workers. On 23 November, when the workers of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress were returning back home after attending a meeting, they were thrown stones by the Nairs. The Catholic Christians of Manalikarai had arranged a welcome meeting to Annie Mascarene who was an important leader of the State Congress Party. However it was turned into State Congress propaganda meeting. Annie Mascarene appealed to the people to support the State Congress. A part of the crowd shouted slogans in favour of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. The meeting witnessed an abrupt ending. The priest and other congress men instigated a fisherman to complain that his cart was damaged by the supporters of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. The sub inspector in charge of this Arrested the people living around and brutally attacked them. All these incidents were condemned by Sam Nathaniel, president of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress.
First General Elections
The Reforms Committee submitted its report regarding conducting of General Elections to the government on 20 November1947. One hundred twenty constituencies were recommended with forty seats being reserved and rest eighty for common category. Tamilians were not happy and had demanded more seats. Nesamony had appointed eighteen candidates to contest on his party's ticket. In each village, a committee was set up to educate people on voting process by the Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress as it was the first election. Many volunteers were recruited and even school students were used for this activity. Election became an excuse to harass the Nadars and complaints were lodged against them frequently by the Nair community. Hence the Nadars shifted to Thovalai, Agasteeswarem Taluks and other hilly regions. Nesamony went to these villages and realised the atrocities faced by the Tamilians.
Subsequently in Kalkulam A and Kalkulam B constituencies election was conducted on two days. Tension prevailed in all polling booths. In Kulaseharam, Chenkodi, Nettancode, Allancode, Thiruvattar, and few other Taluks those who came to vote were chased by police. Anti social elements were brought from other places to kill important leaders of this party. The polling officers also supported the State Congress. The leaders of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress were not secured.
Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress won fourteen seats and defeated the State Congress candidates. Neyyatinkarai seat was lost to the State Congress candidate. However for the first time Tamilians got an opportunity to enter those regions which are considered to be the strong holds of Malayalees. In Deviculam Taluk the candidate lost as the workers were unable to come out for voting due to police atrocities.
As soon as results were out communal riots started again. State Congress workers and Malayalee priests, the fishermen started humiliating the Nadars. The Nadar women stopped buying fish from fishermen. This led to communal riots between the Nadars and the fishermen. The Nadar community maltreated those who violated the restrictions.
Thus, the Assembly elections of 1948 were critical in a way as it decided the position of various political parties. This election though did witness ample violence and police atrocities on Nadars and party workers of Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress. Travancore Tamil Nadu Congress especially gained major popularity among the Tamilians. The outcome of this election was beneficial to this party the most.
|More Articles in History of Travancore (5)|