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It is PMK versus AIADMK in Saidapet

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R. Sujatha

Neither contestants has project to clear encroachments

DMK and PMK were in opposite camps in 2001Except two occasions, DMK always won the seat

CHENNAI: The contest in the Saidapet constituency, which has an electorate of 2,79,266, is between the PMK candidate C.R. Baskaran and the AIADMK's Senthamizhan. Mr. Baskaran lost the seat in 2001 to DMK candidate Perumal . Mr. Senthamizhan is a new face. This time, Mr. Baskaran is assisted in his campaign by DMK supporters. Both the contestants believe that basic amenities are in place.

DMK stronghold

Saidapet is a high profile constituency from where DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi was elected twice. In 1967 he won by a margin of 20,482 votes and in 1971 he won by 12,511 votes. Since 1962, barring the two sympathy waves in 1984 when Indira Gandhi was assassinated and then in 1991 when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated the electorate has been consistently voting for the DMK. In 1991 and 1984, the seat went to the AIADMK.

The DMK and the PMK were in opposite camps in 2001. But, after the death of Perumal, actor Radha Ravi, who contested on the AIADMK ticket, won the byelection. Now the PMK and the DMK are allies, fighting the AIADMK front. Mr. Radha Ravi, the sitting member, has been denied the ticket this time.

Mr. Baskaran's promise to the electorate this time is that the constituency would be made a role model.

The constituency consists of CIT Nagar, Jaffarkhanpet, Ekkaduthangal, IIT, Raj Bhavan quarters, West Saidapet, Maruvankarai, Surya Nagar, St. Thomas Mount, Srinagar Colony, Venkatapuram, Pallipattu, Kalikundram, and Kottur.

Mr. Baskaran, who resides in CIT Nagar for election, is basically from Chengalpattu.

He wants to improve the quality of education in Government schools.

Kottur residents have appealed for four bus routes and want the Kotturpuram railway station renamed.

He says these possibilities are already being discussed with DMK members. A flyover was proposed in the Five Lights area and Rs. 5.41 crore had been set apart. But the work is yet to be taken up.

Practising lawyer

Mr. Senthamizhan, a native of the constituency, is a practising lawyer in the Saidapet court and in the Madras High Court.

He promises that the constituency with "20 per cent commercial establishments" will be developed.

He hails from Kaveri Nagar, studied at the Government High School there, and graduated in B.A. Political Science from Presidency College.

He then did master's in History and graduated in Law.

Neither of the contestants has a workable project for the encroachments along the Adyar River and the flooding in the low-level areas during monsoon.

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