Tamil Nadu Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections | A direct contest in Villivakkam

Villivakkam, a constituency that predominantly has a working class population, will again witness a direct contest between the major Dravidian parties in the Assembly election.

This time, J.C.D. Prabhakar, one of the AIADMK’s senior leaders in the city, is pitted against A. Vetriazhagan, grandson of DMK veteran K. Anbazhagan.

Once the largest constituency in the city, Villivakkam has shrunk in size as other constituencies — Ambattur, Kolathur, Maduravoyal, Virugambakkam and Madhavaram — were created after the delimitation process.

However, the region has retained its flavour with employees of private companies and the Integrated Coach Factory and a few slums. Besides Ayanavaram, a small portion of Anna Nagar is also part of the constituency.

Possible contenders

Long-time residents note that the constituency had a strong presence of the DMK and the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the parties have won at least six times since 1977. They say some of the basic amenities have improved, including roads.

Efforts are under way to rejuvenate the Villivakkam lake after many years. However, voters expect solutions to core issues, such as water-logging, encroachments along New Avadi Road and the old sewer network.

Key candidates have assured the voters of solutions to civic issues.

An educationalist, Mr. Vetriazhagan says he grew up in the constituency. Enhancing the infrastructure, including better roads, healthcare facilities and drinking water supply, is his priority. “I’ll make efforts to find a permanent solution to flooding, particularly in areas like Sidco Nagar. I plan to bring an arts and science college and a government hospital to the constituency. Legal efforts would be made to retrieve the portion of a site belonging to the Government-aided Singaram Pillay Higher Secondary School that has been sold to commercial establishments,” Mr. Vetriazhagan says. The CPI(M) had staged an agitation, arguing that the sale affected the education of the needy.

Fifth time contestant

Villivakkam is Mr. Prabhakar’s home ground as he is contesting for the fifth time in the same constituency. He considers accessibility as his strength.

“I was elected as MLA of this constituency in 1980 and 2011. People still remember me for the works I had done in my previous term, particularly during the 2015 floods. I’ll conduct grievance redress camps regularly and build community halls in all divisions. Piped water supply to all households is one of my promises,” he says.

Among the 21 other contestants are D. Subamangalam of the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Sriharan Bala of Makkal Needhi Maiam and R. Sridhar of Naam Tamilar Katchi.

Traffic congestion remains a major issue, and residents want the construction of the road over-bridge at level crossing 1 of the Villivakkam station to be expedited.

More play areas

CPI(M) Villivakkam secretary M.R. Mathiazhagan pitches for more playgrounds and alternate housing for residents of areas prone to flooding like Annai Satya Nagar.

“The Greater Chennai Corporation must retrieve a dilapidated building on East Mada Street and build a community hall or maternity hospital,” he says.

Replacing the old sewer network that leads to frequent clogging and more parks are the demands of the Ayanavaram residents.

V. Baskaran, president, Ayanavaram Exnora, says encroachments are also an issue. Poor garbage disposal often leads to an unhygienic environment.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 2:19:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/tamil-nadu-assembly/villivakkam-constituency-watch/article34180319.ece

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