Chennai South braces up for tense electoral battle

Chennai South braces up for tense electoral battle

The contest here is mainly between two first-timers

Chennai South braces up for tense electoral battle

With four-time MP and DMK veteran from Chennai South, T R Baalu, opting to shift to Sriperumbudur post-delimitation, everyone, including some serious Independents, have started dreaming big. The neck-to-neck contest is between two lawyers and first-timers in the Lok Sabha elections—R S Bharati (DMK) and Chitlapakkam S Rajendran (AIADMK). BJP State President L Ganesan poses a mild threat to the duo.

The Assembly segments of Virugambakkam, Saidapet, T Nagar, Mylapore, Velechery and Sholinganallur form this constituency. With 22 per cent of the voters hailing from the Brahmin community, the BJP has dangled the carrot of a Brahmin candidate in front of them. With many of the voters not even being aware of the candidate’s names, the contest here is viewed as a ‘Karunanidhi Vs Jayalalithaa’ affair.

62-year-old R S Bharati has earned a good name for the schemes he ushered in during his stint as Chairman of Alandur municipality. He is also the secretary of the state legal wing of the DMK and shot to national fame by filing the TANSI case against former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in the Supreme Court and winning it for the party.

Bharati said the “wonderful social welfare schemes initiated by CM Karunanidhi will make me win by a huge margin.”

His party workers concede the advantage the BJP might have due to the ‘Brahmin vote’ in T Nagar and Mylapore but feels the margin of victory might be a bit reduced in these constituencies. However, Bharati defiantly states he was popular among the Brahmins too, as Alandur had 40,000 of them voting for him in every election.

‘Amma’ was the word that figured in every line uttered by opponent Rajendran, 48, in an interaction. Lashing out at the DMK, he ridiculed the “five-hour fast after breakfast undertaken by Kalaignar” over the separate Tamil Eelam issue holding that the people had seen through the “bluff” and would never vote for him now.

The Brahmin voters, though, are still in no mood to forgive Kalaignar’s “foul utterings” against them. “We feel insecure and suppressed ever since the DMK won both Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. We felt so confident when Amma was around,” says a priest Karthikeyan in Mylapore.

Another person, requesting anonymity said: “Of course, I will vote for the BJP, as it will work for the upper castes. But I do know the AIADMK will win.”

Many women voters sided with their “bold Amma”. The upgradation of many crumbling temples in the constituency has earned their goodwill. “We still remember she arrested a person as revered as the Sankaracharya, but we are willing to treat it as another issue,” said Raghavan Iyengar. An automobile mechanic feels the strong pro-Tamil Eelam stand by ‘Amma’ has won the hearts of all Tamilians, and he would back her. “I do not know if it will win, as Vijaykanth’s DMDK is set to eat into the votes of all parties, and the situation is very confusing here,” he adds.

‘Food king’ hopes to make a change

Youngsters all over the country are keenly awaiting the poll results of 29-year-old candidate Sarath Babu contesting as an Independent from Chennai South, reports DHNS from Chennai.

His resume runs thus: Born in a large, poor family, his mother sold idlis to meet daily needs. He is a native of Madipakkam in Chennai. Educational background: Engineering from BITS, Pilani, management degree from IIM, Ahmedabad.

Job profile:  Turned down job offers to start own business of supplying tea to multinational companies with an investment of just Rs 2,000. Business flourished, has centres in five cities in the country with a turnover of Rs 7 crore and is known as “food king.”

Babu is contesting the LS polls with the slate as the symbol.

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