Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Civic issues persist in DMK’s pocket-borough

For voters, Chepauk has always been a known name. Election of former DMK supremo M. Karunanidhi to the Assembly thrice — in 1996, 2001 and 2006 — has endowed it with a certain amount of fame.

It has mostly stayed loyal to the DMK for 30 years. Chepauk merged with Triplicane post the delimitation order of 2008. In 2006, the Chepauk voters handed victory to Karunanidhi, while Triplicane voters elected Badar Sayeed of the AIADMK. However, voters of the merged Chepauk-Triplicane constituency have remained loyal to the DMK since 2011.

J. Anbazhagan of the DMK was elected in 2011 and 2016. He died of COVID-19 in June 2020, and the seat fell vacant. Karunanidhi’s grandson and DMK president M.K. Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi is contesting from the seat this time.

Congestion and traffic have remained the foremost concerns all these years. Residents also complain about the problem of stray cattle. Though the Greater Chennai Corporation had reserved a portion of the land under the MRTS bridge for the cattle, cattle still wander on the roads, making life difficult for pedestrians as well as those commuting by vehicles. Political pressure and police action have not helped, says T.J. Ramani, a resident.

Though Triplicane has two flyovers to reach Anna Salai, areas such as Dr. Besant Road, Ice House and Mirsahibpet are choked. The residents want a multi-level parking facility on the Corporation land on Dr. Besant Road.

A resident R.V. Narasimhan wants space earmarked for vendors, who operate literally on the carriageway, adding to the congestion. The approach to the MRTS station at Triplicane has been shut; people take a detour to reach the station.

“The Corporation says it is not its property. The area has become a den for anti-social elements because at night the street lights do not work,” says V.P. Manivannan, a commuter.

Residents want the Metropolitan Transport Corporation to restore the bus services on route no. 12, 45A, 24 and 24C. T.A. Sathyanarayanan, a commuter, says the services have either been suspended or their frequency reduced. The mini-bus service from LIC to Ice House has been suspended after it was operated for just a month, he rues.

“A bus bay built near Vivekanandar Illam to commemorate the centenary of Swami Vivekananda is being used by auto-rickshaws,” he says.

A.V.A. Kassali of the PMK, which is part of the AIADMK-led coalition, has made Pudupet his residence for the past 40 years. “My opponent is young and people haven’t taken to him yet. He has inherited the constituency. I am of an agricultural background and a social activist. Though the constituency falls under the Central Chennai Lok Sabha constituency, very little development has happened here,” he says.

Mr. Kassali says Muslims, who are predominant in the constituency, would prefer him. At Pudupet, the challenges are many. He wants to make the beaches pleasant for visitors. He believes he has an edge over Mr. Udhayanidhi. The other prominent contestants are Jayasimmaraja of Naam Tamilar Katchi, L. Rajendran of the AMMK, and Mohammed Ithris of Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi, which has tied up with Makkal Needhi Maiam.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 10:47:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/civic-issues-persist-in-dmks-pocket-borough/article34174029.ece

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