Mylapore: Unkept promises leave voters disillusioned

To view the map, see: http://bl.ocks.org/anonymous/raw/66009e4011c6440294b90eb5a749ef79/

Mylapore, one of the oldest residential settlements in Chennai, lies in the southern part of Chennai. It was one of the most severely affected areas during the December floods. According to reports, the AIADMK has denied tickets to the sitting MLA R. Rajalakshmi, apprehensive of the possibility of anti-incumbency factors at work. AIADMK has been in power in the constituency since 2006.

There are 2,57,032 registered voters in the constituency. The Mylapore constituency comprises Bharathidasan Nagar (Chennai Corporation Division 94) Vivekanandapuram (96 ), Alwarpet – North (115), Alwarpet – South (116 ), Bhemmannapet (142 ), Thiruvalluvar Nagar (143), Madhavaperumal Puram (144), Karaneeswarapuram (145), Santhome (146), Mylapore (147), Avvai Nagar – North (148), Raja Annamalaipuram (149) and Avvai Nagar – South (150).

Candidates Independent Candidates
Nataraj R. (AIADMK)

Karate R.Thiagarajan (INC)

Nagarajan K. (BJP)

Balaji V. (BSP)

Suresh Kumar N. (PMK)

Munavar Basha A.S (Tamil Maanila Congress(Moopanar))

Sudhakar.S (Naam Tamilar Katchi)

V.Vijayakrishna (SHS)

Jebamani E (Peoples Party of India(secular))

Govindarajulu.M (Youth And Students Party)

Arunraj Balan

Anand N.

Shanmuga Rajan

Sathyanarayanan .S.

Sathyaa Durrairajh

Sivakumar R.

Dhananjayan T.S.

Kuppal G.Devadoss

Balakrishnan

K.R.Ramaswamy

Loganathan

Sheela S.

Know your candidate

The incumbent AIADMK MLA R Rajalakshmi had promised in 2011 to “work with the traffic police to ease traffic congestion in the locality and ensure that the  roads are well-laid, maintained and accessible.”  She had promised to work for the interests of fishermen in San Thome, in the Foreshore Estate area; support families living along the Buckingham Canal who face eviction; and create a shopping and commercial zone like Pondy Bazaar. “If promoted internationally, it is likely to attract more tourists. The beach can be beautified without affecting fishermen’s livelihood,” she had said.

Nataraj, AIADMK

Nataraj, retired DGP, hails from Tirunelveli district. He was appointed Police Commissioner of Chennai city from 2003-2006. He was removed from the post by the Election Commission when he praised AIADMK leader Jayalalitha in a television interview in 2006. He retired in 2011, and was Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission chairman in 2012 during Jayalalitha’s regime. Nataraj was in the news last December, when he was shortly expelled from his party after a comment criticizing the AIADMK government was wrongly attributed to him. He was taken back when Jayalalitha realized that there had been a misunderstanding.  

A resident of Nanganallur has lodged a police complaint against Nataraj. According to M.R. Saravanan, he was duped of 28.5 lakhs on the promise of an opportunity to work in the film industry.

During the campaign, Natarajan has promised that he will make government services accessible to people. Like the incumbent AIADMK MLA, he too promises to “strengthen Mylapore’s image as a tourist destination and preserve its heritage.”

Thiagarajan, INC

He had quit the Congress and joined the Tamil Maanila Congress (in 1996) which was formed in protest against the Congress’s alliance with the AIADMK. Later, he joined the AIADMK and was elected as councillor in the 2001 local body elections. He was appointed Deputy Mayor by the AIADMK, and became Mayor-in-Charge, when DMK leader M K Stalin stepped down due to  ‘One Man One Post’ policy. He was expelled from the AIADMK because of alleged “activities in contravention of the party’s policies, goals and principles” and had gone underground for over six months. He said he did so due to threats from AIADMK leader J. Jayalalitha. He returned to Chennai, and joined Congress in 2006.

An exponent of karate, he is also known as ‘Karate Thiagarajan’. However, in 2010, DNA reported that he had been dismissed from the post of President of the  All India Karate Do Federation, for alleged misappropriation of funds.

Karu Nagarajan, BJP

Karu Nagarajan quit the AISMK party of actor Sarath Kumar and joined the BJP earlier this year. BJP was elected to power in Mylapore in 2001 when they were in an alliance with the DMK. The BJP is hopeful as Mylapore is the only assembly where the party had been voted to power in Tamil Nadu. In 2001, the party’s K.R.Lakshman had won from Mylapore. This time, the BJP hopes to win over 2.5 lakh voters from the influential Tamil Brahmin community in Mylapore.  

A.S. Munawar Basha, Tamil Maanila Congress

Munavar Basha is a senior politician from Mylapore.

2011 Results

Candidate Party Votes Status
R Rajalakshmi AIADMK 80063 Won
K V Thangkabalu INC 50859 Lost
Vanathi Srinivasan BJP 6911 Lost
Ashok Rajendran LSP 1340 Lost
S Praveen Kumar Ind 527 Lost

Key concerns

The issues raised by residents and activists from Mylapore reveal that most of the promises made by the parties have not been met. The concerns of families belonging to fishing communities here and of those living in slums remain unaddressed. Many are worried that relocating to distant places would deprive them of their livelihood.

“Poor roads and traffic congestion are among the main issues faced by the residents of Mylapore for a long time. The residents have complained to the concerned authorities over the years, but no action has been taken to address these issues effectively,” says Jayaram Venkataraman, Convenor of the activist group Arappor Iyakkam, and a resident of Mylapore.

There are potholes on the Mada Streets surrounding the Kapaleeswar temple, and these four roads are always congested. Traffic at Luz Road and Royapettah road needs to be regulated. Residents  and members of the newly-formed chapter of Arappor Iyakkam also raise the issue of dents on  R.T. Butt Road, P.S.Sivaswami Salai and Devanahalli Street.

The lack of maintenance of the Buckingham Canal is another long-time concern of the residents. This has resulted in mosquito menace in the area. Garbage disposal irregularities also plague the constituency. “Till last week, garbage and rubble were heaped outside the Mandaveli MRTS station. The issue was raised with the authorities by activists of Arappor Iyakkam and now it has been cleared,” says activist D. Subatra Devi. The residents are also worried about the presence of gas godowns in residential areas. Frequents power cuts have added to their woes  this summer.

Voting history
Madras State

Year Winner Party
1952 C. R. Ramaswamy Indian National Congress
1957 C. R. Ramaswamy Indian National Congress
1962 Arangannal Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
1967 Arangannal Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam

Tamil Nadu

Assembly Duration Winner Party
Fifth 1971-77 T. N. Anandanayaki Indian National Congress (Organization)
Sixth 1977-80 T. K. Kapali Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Seventh 1980-84 T. K. Kapali All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Eighth 1984-89 B. Valarmathi All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Ninth 1989-91 N. Ganapathy Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Tenth 1991-96 T. M. Rangarajan All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Eleventh 1996-01 N. P. Ramajayam Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
Twelfth 2001-06 K. N. Lakshmanan Bharatiya Janata Party
Thirteenth 2006-2011 S. V. Shekar All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (2006-2009)

Unattached member (2009-2011)

Indian National Congress (2011)

Fourteenth 2011-Incumbent R. Rajalakshmi All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam
About Nileena MS 23 Articles
Nileena is an alumnus of Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. She has a deep and abiding interest in civic and development issues. Nileena can be reached at nileenams@gmail.com

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