Chennai: A keen contest is in the offing in Chennai South where DMK and BJP have put up formidable candidates to wrest the seat from AIADMK, which is fielding a new face.
AIADMK denied ticket to sitting MP C Rajendran and instead nominated Jayavardhan, son of former Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker D Jayakumar, in this constituency which is cosmopolitan in nature and known as IT hub of the state.
BJP, which has for the first time formed a strong alliance of six parties, has fielded its former state unit chief L Ganesan hoping to take advantage of the support base its allies enjoyed.
Ganesan hails from the Brahmin community which forms a sizeable population in Mylapore, one of the assembly segments, coming under the South Chennai constituency.
DMK refused to field RS Bharathy who lost in the 2009 polls and instead gave him a ticket to contest for the Alandur Assembly bye-poll, for which voting takes place on April 24.
DMK has shifted its spokesman TKS Elangovan from Chennai North to South seat, hoping that he would fare well in the new constituency.
South Chennai comprises Virugambakkam, Saidapet, T Nagar, Mylapore, Velachery, Sholinganallur, Tambaram parts of which fall under IT corridor (Old Mahabalipuram Road) and Triplicane with a total electorate strength of about 11.62 lakh.
Though the seat remained a strong hold of DMK which had won eight times so far, AIADMK wrested it last time.
Some of the major issues that have been in the news are water scarcity and security of women. The ground water level has considerably reduced forcing many residents and IT companies to buy water from tanker lorries. Besides, safety of women working in IT companies in IT corridor has also come into sharp focus after the brutal murder and rape of an employee of a top IT company early this year.
"People have personally told me that ground water level is decreasing and it is becoming a major problem in some of the areas (in my constituency). I would also raise my voice for enhancing safety to women," Elangovan told a news agency.
"There are women who continuously work during nights. After the woman employee was raped and murdered in SIPCOT IT Park, many people said that shifts for working women should be between 9am and 5pm. But I am not for that. My priority is that women should be protected and their safety should be enhanced irrespective of what time they work," he said.
Asked about BJP candidate Ganesan, he said the contest is between DMK and AIADMK, "Even if BJP contests, there may be reduction of votes in AIADMK, but DMK votes will not get affected...," Elangovan said.
On shifting his constituency from North Chennai to South Chennai, he said, "People of South Chennai know me well through my attendance (in Rajya Sabha) and through the issues taken by me (in Rajya Sabha). Moreover, my residence is in South Chennai constituency."
Ganesan said he has set up a committee to address the issues faced by the locals.
"I have set up a committee to look after the issues of the people living in my constituency. I am also working on creating a draft manifesto. After I file my nomination, I will release the draft manifesto. People can directly contact me to voice any problems they face in their area," he told a news agency.
Asked how confident he was, he said, "People in every nook and corner of Tamil Nadu know our Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi ji. That will help me to win the election. Secondly, I am more experienced than those two candidates (the AIADMK and DMK candidates)."