This might be a battle betweena popular star and a medical doctor known for his strongDravidian ideology but BJPs Khushbu Sundar and DMKs Dr NEzhilan have based their fight on development in the citysThousand Lights constituency for the April 6 Assembly polls.
As an interesting aside, the candidates of all majorparties in the fray–DMK, BJP, AMMK, veteran star KamalHaasan-led MNM and Naam Tamizhar Katchi (NTK), helmed byanother actor Seeman, are all making their electoral debutfrom here, known as “Ayiram Vilakku” in Tamil.
Although Sundar has been in active politics for long,initially in DMK and then in Congress before switching overto the saffron party recently, this is the first time she istaking the electoral plunge.
More than the star power or ideological war,developmental issues dominate the keenly watched contestbetween Sundar and Ezhilan as both vie with each other inconnecting with the people in the constituency promising moreamenities and development.
Despite its multicultural tag, the Thousand Lightsassembly constituency, a segment of the Chennai Central LokSabha seat, is conspicuous by its rich poor divide.
It accommodates swanky commercial buildings andresidences of actors and political leaders and also has goodnumber of slums and some decrepit housing board apartments.
Civic amenities and pucca infrastructure continue tobe a long pending demand of the people in this constituency.
Sundar, whose presence in the electoral fray hastransformed this segment into a star constituency with thelikes of Union Minister Smriti Irani campaigning for her, ishopeful of ensuring the smiles on the faces of the people ofthis constituency.
During her intense campaign, she patiently listens topeoples problems and assures to improve roads, providedrinking water and improve the drainage facility.
Mixing of sewage water with drinking water is anotherproblem confronting the people here.
With the warm hugs from many women during hercampaign trail, Sundar who also christens babies, assuresthat the peoples voice, particularly those of the women andgirls, will be heard in the assembly if she is elected as alegislator.
The BJP is fighting the polls in alliance with theruling AIADMK.
Her rival candidate Ezhilan, who has a plan to provideplaygrounds with turf and community halls, is keen onestablishing libraries and eco-parks in Thousand Lights.
Vaidhyanathan N, Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagamcandidate contesting on pressure cooker symbol, blames boththe Dravidian majors for neglecting development in theconstituency. AMMK is led by TTV Dhinakaran.
MNM candidate K M Shariff and NTKs Sherine A J, too,like Sundar, Ezhilan and Vaidhyanathan are making theirelectoral debut.
Thousand Lights has been in the limelight as it wasrepresented by DMK president M K Stalin in the 1989, 1996,2001 and 2006 elections, before the former deputy ChiefMinister shifted to the citys Kolathur constituency in 2011which has elected him twice since then. He is contesting fromthere this time as well.
In the 2011 election, AIADMKs former state ministerB Valarmathi won the seat but lost it in the 2016 election toDMKs K K Selvam who has since joined the saffron party.
The AIADMK had won the seat in the 1980, 1984 and1991 elections too.
Wondering if this was really the DMK fort as beingclaimed, Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami, campaigningfor Sundar recently, sought to know what Stalin did when hewas Chennai Mayor and Municipal Administration Minister orDeputy CM.
“He didnt do anything. No proper roads, no sanitationprogramme, drainage facility or water storage system. Ourgovernment (AIADMK) built the storm water drains in Chennaiand improved the infrastructure,” he said.
A total of 2.42 lakh voters will decide the fate of20 candidates in fray on April 6 with the battle linesclearly drawn between AIADMK-BJP combine and the oppositionDMK.
Royapettah, Gopalapuram, Choolaimedu, Chetpet,Nungambakkam, Kodambakkam and parts of T Nagar form theThousand Lights constituency.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)