Poll issues ranging from traffic congestion to pollution induced by the handling of dirty cargo at the Chennai port reign supreme in this Assembly constituency like in the past.
A total of 13 candidates are in the fray, but the contest is mainly between the candidates of the AIADMK and DMK fronts.
The Royapuram constituency comprises the following Chennai corporation divisions - Mottai Thottam (9), Kumaraswamy Nagar North (12), Dr.Vijayaraghavalu Nagar (13), Sanjeevarayanpet (15), Grace Garden (16), Ma.Po.Si.Nagar (17), Royapuram (18), Singara Garden (19), Narayanappa Garden (20), Old Washermenpet (21), Meenakshiammanpet (22) and Basin Bridge (31).
After the delimitation, the constituency has lost the Corporation ward of Tondiarpet that includes the Kasimedu fishing harbour locality to R.K.Nagar constituency.
The constituency has, however, gained Mottai Thottam, Kumaraswamy Nagar North, Dr.Vijayaraghavalu Nagar from R.K.Nagar constituency after the delimitation.
Basin Bridge ward has been gained from the Perambur constituency.
The voting pattern in these newly included four wards is likely to be influenced by the development work done by the sitting MLAs of R.K.Nagar and Perambur in the local areas in the past five years.
Some of the major development works such as the reconstruction and modernisation of Communicable Diseases Hospital by the Chennai Corporation is located in Ward 14 (Tondiarpet), that is no longer part of the Royapuram constituency.
Work on other infrastructure requirements such as the subway near Stanley Hospital and the Mint Flyover is under way.
Many of the 1.5 lakh voters in this area, where air pollution is a common complaint, are also vocal about the other issues that affect their day-to-day life: disruption of power supply, water scarcity, traffic congestion due to containers meant for port and price rise.
P.Thenmozhi, a resident of Moolakothalam, said: “We find many welfare schemes of the present government useful. We received the free colour television sets and Rs.1-per-Kg rice. But power disruption in our locality because of a cable problem has been bothering us a lot. We are not able to have a sound sleep at night. I will vote for a candidate who will be able to solve this problem.”
Many residents also said their decisions on voting for a candidate are not likely to be confined to local civic issues but would be based on larger impacts of the policy of the Central and the State governments.
“I received a free colour television set. But price rise is affecting me now and I want a government that helps poor people like me cope with price rise,” said Lourd Mary, a resident of Kathpada near Mint.
Sitting MLA and AIADMK candidate D.Jayakumar says Royapuram's residents are concerned about corruption and their decision to vote for a candidate would depend on corruption as the core issue.
“We will outperform the victory margin of the last Assembly elections with Amma's aura dominating in the constituency,” said Mr.Jayakumar.
“I will take efforts to shift the [dirty] cargo such as coal and iron ore to Ennore port as part of the pollution control measures in Royapuram. Easing of traffic congestion will be yet another main concern. I will find a solution to the traffic problems in Royapuram in one year,” he added. The fact that Congress candidate R.Manohar also agrees with his main rival D.Jayakumar on the need for addressing the issues such as pollution and traffic congestion has made the contest tougher.
“A strategy for easing traffic congestion in Royapuram will be chalked out,” says Mr.Manohar.
“Of all the candidates, Jayakumar and Manohar are very close to the common man in this constituency.
Both have proved that they are capable of addressing civic problems, but we are planning to support the candidate who will come to us and explain to us his strategy for addressing the core issues of the constituency,” Ammanullah, a resident of Meenakshiammanpet.
WHAT THEY SAY
D. Jayakumar (AIADMK): Welfare measures and development works in Royapuram constituency will receive an impetus if we are voted to power. Our campaign will focus not only on civic challenges faced by Royapuram residents but would also cover the larger issues such as 2G corruption.
R. Manohar (Congress): A large number of voters of this constituency have benefitted from the welfare measures of the Central and State governments. So we will urge the people to vote for us in to receive more such benefits. Royapuram has a large number of people belonging to the weaker sections who have been beneficiaries of the welfare measures. This will help us.