Lok Sabha 2014

Focus on uneven economic growth

Famous for its traditional silk handlooms, scores of temples and the best of Pallava architecture, Kancheepuram is in the throes of rapid change in recent years.

It is after a gap of 16 years that the two principal political players in the State — All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) — are going to take on each other in the Kancheepuram Lok Sabha constituency.

When they met in 1998, the AIADMK emerged victorious and that was the last time that the ruling party won here.

[At that time, the constituency was known as Chengalpattu and it was a general constituency. After delimitation in 2008, it has been renamed as Kancheepuram and declared a ‘Reserved constituency’, as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes constitute 24.74 per cent of the population in the entire district. ]

The current elections will be the sixth time for the arch rivals to face each other since 1977.

The AIADMK drubbed its adversary five times. However, it tasted defeat on four occasions when it had to face parties other than the DMK.

In the last election, P. Viswanathan of the Congress, a constituent of the DMK-led front, won this seat, which comprises Assembly segments of Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tiruporur, Cheyyur (SC), Madurantakam (SC) and Uthiramerur. The only time when the DMK registered success was in 1996. Then, its immediate rival was the Congress, the then ally of the AIADMK.

Though the contest this time appears to be essentially between G. Selvam of the DMK and Maragatham Kumaravel of the AIADMK, it is bound to become intense if Mr. Viswanathan were to be renominated.

The constituency will be in for further interesting tussle if the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s deputy general secretary C. E. Sathya is fielded as BJP-led front’s candidate.

Both Mr. Viswanathan and Mr. Sathya are expected to cut into the vote share of the principal parties as they may gain support from certain sections of society such as fishermen and Mudaliars. Also, the Vanniyars may play a crucial role as they feel isolated politically in the wake of the Marakkanam violence, which broke out on the day the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Vanniyar Sangam organised a youth festival in Mamallapuram. Polling in Vanniyar strongholds such as Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tiruporur and Uthiramerur Assembly segments is set to assume greater importance in this election.

On the socioeconomic front, two important sections of society — weavers and agriculturists — in this constituency have not gained much when the district witnessed a boom in industrial activity. At a place known for producing the world-famous silk saris, the inclusion of gold and silver in online future trading market during UPA-1 regime has virtually rendered insignificant the traditional vocation of weaving despite the fact that Geographical Index has been secured for this handloom product.

Indiscriminate sand quarrying in the Palar river has also led to depletion of groundwater level. Considering the constituency’s proximity to Chennai, it is no wonder that several agricultural fields have become residential property layouts, adversely affecting farm operations.

The president of Kancheepuram Handloom Silk and Zari Saree Manufacturing Association, Y. M. Narayanasamy, recalls that the recession that gripped the industry earlier, in the wake of inclusion of gold and silver in online trading, which subsequently turned into a severe crisis as raw silk’s cost skyrocketed.

Another issue which haunts the public is the implementation of Archaeological Survey of India’s regulations in pockets like Kancheepuram town, Mamallapuram, Tiruporur and Siruthavur, where it affects the construction sector, particularly domestic construction activities.


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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 5:16:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/loksabha2014/focus-on-uneven-economic-growth/article5806521.ece

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