Lok Sabha polls: North Chennai seeks infra push, flooding a major cause of worry

Besides the two Dravidian parties and BJP, Seeman led Naam Tamilar Katchi candidate Amudini Jayaprakash is also in the poll fray.

ByPTI

Published Apr 16, 2024 | 12:18 PM Updated Apr 16, 2024 | 1:07 PM

Dr Kalanidhi Veeraswamy with MK Stalin

By S Vijay Karthik

The need for developmental projects, the much-required infra push and frequent flooding are some of the issues being raised by residents in the Chennai North Lok Sabha constituency.

The DMK has re-nominated Dr Kalanidhi Veeraswamy while advocate RC Paul Kanagaraj of the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to make the lotus bloom in this Dravidian stronghold.

AIADMK’s R Manohar, popularly addressed as “Royapuram” Mano is also making all efforts to trump the DMK and emerge victorious after the 19 April polls.

North Chennai comprises Thiruvottiyur, Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar, Perambur, Kolathur, Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, and Royapuram. Significantly, Kolathur is seen as a ‘star’ Assembly segment, as it is represented by DMK president and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin in the state Assembly.

As many as 37 candidates are in the poll fray in North Chennai and the region is home to members of various communities. It also comprises a good number of Hindi-speaking population.

Also Read: Election officials check Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter in Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiris

AIADMK candidate

AIADMK nominee Manohar said the residents were totally ‘unhappy’ with both DMK and BJP for allegedly not taking any efforts vis-a-vis flood mitigation, particularly during the devastation caused due to Cyclone Michaung in December 2023.

“Despite BJP being at the Centre for 10 years and three years of the DMK rule, people are unhappy as they have failed them. In fact, DMK says they have spent Rs 4,000 crore on rehabilitation after the cyclone. But it is not true. People are worst affected whenever natural calamity like that occurs,” he told PTI.

He said that the response from the people during his campaigning has been ‘encouraging,’ and has promised them that he would bring in a host of features based on the concept: “Vada Chennai, Valamana Paralumandra Thogudhiya uruvakuvom (Making North Chennai a developed Parliamentary constituency).”

The constituency had elected AIADMK nominee in the 2014 Parliamentary elections.

“I have promised them to bring in several developments similar to South Chennai. For example there are no popular universities here, I have told them that we will set up a varsity. Similarly, I have told them that this constituency would be developed on par with South Chennai by setting up hospitals, library”, he said.

North Chennai often pales before South Chennai when it comes to development and civic amenities, and it has been a talking point for long.

Manohar also has plans to bring in a railway terminal in Royapuram, removing the dumping yard in Kodungaiyur, a hospital similar to AIIMS, a public library and an Information Technology Park. “If you have all these things, this constituency will develop automatically,” he said.

A long time resident of Perambur, and a software professional, G Kishore Babu claimed that there was anti-incumbency against Kalanidhi Veeraswamy for allegedly not taking any welfare initiatives for the people.

DMK candidate

Veerasamy, a medical practitioner, is son of the DMK veteran leader ‘Arcot’ N Veeraswamy. In 2019 polls he secured 5.89 lakh votes defeating Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam party candidate R Mohanraj.

“The setting up of stormwater drainage has been going on for several years leading to traffic congestions during peak hours and flooding of waters when there is heavy rainfall,” Babu alleged.

For his part, the DMK candidate is banking on the party’s various welfare measures. Veeraswami highlights them during his campaign. Besides, the strong alliance led by the ruling party that includes Congress, Left parties and the VCK is also seen as an advantage for the incumbent in the traditional DMK stronghold.

Also Read: Rahul Gandhi’s TN visit has trumped Modi’s poll campaign: Stalin

Other alternative

Besides the two Dravidian parties and the BJP, actor-politician Seeman led Naam Tamilar Katchi candidate Amudini Jayaprakash is also in the poll fray in North Chennai.

She says people of North Chennai constituency have been facing many issues, including the dumping yard in Kodungaiyur.

“I appeal to people to give me an opportunity to serve them by electing me this time. Despite the constituency having led by both AIADMK and DMK (in the past), it did not witness any improvement.” she alleged.

“Presence of big political parties (like DMK or AIADMK) does not hold significance. People are looking for a change and they will select a candidate who will be their representative in addressing their issues. I am eager to serve them”, she said.

As per the Election Commission data, North Chennai consists of 7,30,395 men, 7,65,286 women and 543 transgenders. Total voters is 14,96,224 and there are 1,456 polling stations.

(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.)