LS polls: Prestigious South Chennai to see DMK, AIADMK, BJP face-off

Incumbent DMK MP T Sumathy alias Tamizhachi Thangapandian will face-off former Telangana Governor and BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan, while the AIADMK has fielded ex-MP Dr J Jayavardhan, who won from Chennai in 2014.


Published Mar 24, 2024 | 2:43 PMUpdatedMar 24, 2024 | 2:43 PM

Stalin was addressing a mammoth gathering in Coimbatore, where more than 4,000 people from various political parties attended. (Twitter)

Home to some top-notch educational institutions and IT companies, the prestigious South Chennai Parliament seat is set for a 3-way direct fight involving two women leaders and a former MP as the ruling DMK, AIADMK, and the BJP will slug it out in the 19 April Lok Sabha polls.

Incumbent DMK MP T Sumathy alias Tamizhachi Thangapandian will face former Telangana Governor and BJP leader Tamilisai Soundararajan, while the the AIADMK has fielded ex-MP Dr J Jayavardhan, who won from Chennai in 2014.

Incidentally, Tamilisai resigned as governor earlier this week before re-joining the saffron party, which has nominated her from this segment.

The leader has expressed confidence in winning, saying she was aware of the problems in the constituency, being a resident for 40 years.

“I am really very happy. Through hard work, we will get this seat,” she said.

Jayavardhan is banking on the various welfare measures he brought in or initiated during his 2014-19 stint, in health and railway sectors among others, sources close to him said.

Read: Karti Chidambaram, Manickam Tagore among Congress’ list of candidates for 7 LS seats in TN

Electoral landscape, dynamics

The constituency, also home to several residents engaged in the IT sector, entrepreneurs, business leaders among many others, is faced with problems such as waterlogging during the monsoon, as was evident in December 2023, erratic power supply, and relaying of roads among many others.

The impact caused by the December rains which resulted in severe flooding threw normal life out of gear. Several videos of parked cars being washed away due to nature’s fury emerged on social media platforms.

South Chennai consists of six legislative assembly segments — Velachery, Virugambakkam, Saidapet, Thyagaraya nagar, Mylapore and Sholinganallur.

While Congress represents Velachery, the rest have DMK MLAs. Congress is part of the DMK-led bloc in the state. The constituency has been a DMK stronghold with the party winning it five times. AIADMK has emerged victorious twice.

BJP is yet to make its mark in the region and secured third place in the 2014 elections.

In the 2019 polls, Thamizhachi Thangapandian emerged victorious by defeating Jayavardhan by a margin of 2,62,223 votes. In 2014, Jayavardhan had defeated his close rival, TKS Elangovan of the DMK by over 1.36 lakh votes.

According to noted political analyst Sumanth Raman, given the star studded contest in the region, it is advantage for Thamizhachi.

“The Opposition votes will be split between AIADMK candidate Jayavardhan and BJP’s Tamilisai,” thus ensuring an advantage for the DMK nominee, he told PTI.

According to local resident R Arumugam, ‘poor’ handling of floods in December 2023 may not augur well for Thangapandian as people faced a lot of hardship due to various issues including shortage of essentials then.

“There seemed to be no effort to avoid such a situation as it was a repeat of the 2015 floods,” he said.

Tamil Nadu BJP leader and longtime resident of South Chennai, Amar Prasad Reddy said he was confident that Tamilisai would win.

Meanwhile, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, on being nominated again to contest the polls, expressed her gratitude to DMK president and Chief Minister MK Stalin. At a recent event held in her constituency, she met senior party cadres and vowed to ensure a successive term.

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South Chennai prospects

Besides having educational institutions like the IIT, Madras and top IT firms like Infosys and TCS, South Chennai has also become the most preferred real estate destination among other regions for property buyers.

Real estate developers have unveiled several new projects to meet the demand.

According to Rajanish Dixit, Vice President (Marketing) of real estate developer Urbanrise, South Chennai stands as a beacon of opportunity for real estate developers, drawing them with its irresistible blend of factors conducive to large-scale projects.

With neighbourhoods like Adyar and Velacherry witnessing remarkable property value appreciation fueled by a thriving IT sector along corridors like Old Mahabalipuram Road and the East Coast Road, the Chennai South region exudes promise.

“The presence of large IT companies like Infosys, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro translates to a high demand for quality housing,” he said.

As per the Election Commission data, Chennai South has a total 19,36,209 voters of which 9,61,904 are men and 9,73,934 women. The constituency has 371 transgenders.

(Disclaimer: The headline, subheads, and intro of this report along with the photos may have been reworked by South First. The rest of the content is from a syndicated feed, and has been edited for style.)