J. Malarvizhi

AIADMK-led front's Kalan is pitted against Renganathan of DMK AIADMK-led front's Kalan is pitted against Renganathan of DMK

AIADMK-led front banks on support of trade unions DMK hoping to retain the seat

CHENNAI: Villivakkam, the largest constituency in the State, has voted for candidates from the DMK-led front in the last two Assembly elections.

This time the AIADMK-led front is hoping to draw on the support of trade unions for its candidate. Trade union leader G. Kalan is contesting on the AIADMK's two leaves symbol. He is pitted against B. Renganathan of the DMK.

There are more than nine lakh voters in the constituency that includes parts of Chennai Corporation, Ambattur municipality, 17 village panchayats, three selection grade and three third grade municipalities.

The sitting MLA, D. Nepoleon (DMK), is contesting from Mylapore.

Mr. Kalan is confident that the AIADMK-led front has got its arithmetic right. "There is support from the trade unions. Our ally, Viduthalai Siruthaigal [Dalit Panthers of India], has got several pockets of support in Villivakkam," he said.

He estimates that the Naicker community that forms 30 per cent of the population will favour him. He is also hoping to get support of women from self-help groups, construction workers and unorganised labourers.

"The people will choose the government that can provide stability and development."

He hopes to set right problems of bad roads, water stagnation, poor drainage facilities and lack of drinking water. The constituency development fund will be used to repair damaged school buildings and set up community halls, he says.

B. Renganathan of the DMK, who has won from the Purasawalkam constituency, is confident that the people will continue to vote for the party. He says drinking water problem will be given priority. He has promised to bring the Ambattur Municipality area under Metrowater. Building a bus terminus, colleges and high schools and improving infrastructure are other priorities. "Roads, water, sewage, streetlights and stormwater drains are the most important infrastructure issues," he said. Cleaning up the Cooum and preventing waterlogging will be paid attention. Ravi Sundaram of the BJP is also in the fray.

Mr. Nepoleon got 48 per cent of the valid votes during the 2001 elections the TMC (M) candidate, Haroon Rasheed, won with 70 per cent of the valid votes in 1996.