After narrowly losing to Parithi Ilamvazhuthi of the DMK in the 2001 Assembly election, influential Devendrakula Velalar leader John Pandian will contest again as an ally of the AIADMK in Egmore this time. Originally from Tirunelveli district, Mr. Pandian will face I. Paranthamen (DMK) and young lawyer Priyadarshini Udhayabanu of Makkal Needhi Maiam.
The issues faced by people in the constituency are commonly experienced in big Indian cities: traffic snarls, road accidents, and haphazard parking on the roads. Apart from this, there is extreme inequality in this constituency as it is home to the super rich and also those who live in abject poverty.
Mr. Paranthamen, who contested from Poonamallee in 2016, said Egmore constituency is home to people lacking basic facilities and living on the road under makeshift roofs.
Poor living conditions
“I was born in Pulianthope, which came under Egmore constituency, and I know that there are people living in abject conditions near the housing board area. There is so much inequality in the area and I hope to change their living conditions through the slum clearance board. There is also a need to improve security for women and children,” he said.
Asked about his rival John Pandian, Mr. Paranthamen said, “I don’t want to comment on him. They know who he is. It is for the people to decide.”
An office-bearer of DMK’s alliance partner said Pulianthope continued to suffer from dumping of garbage that results in communicable diseases, and graveyards that are not modernised.
MNM candidate Priyadarshini said, “The sewage issue is found across neighbourhoods – rich or poor. The pipes are extremely old and need to be changed. Egmore’s infrastructure needs to be improved. The museum should be promoted in a better manner. There is also a need to ensure minibuses go inside residential areas.”
Speaking of the densely populated areas, she said, “There are streets that have small tenements. It becomes tough to live in them when it rains and when there are traffic snarls. The water and drainage often mix and the issue needs to be fixed first.”
The constituency will not see Parithi Ilamvazhuthi, former DMK Minister and six-time MLA, anymore. Though he lost in 2011 as DMK candidate and again in 2016 as AIADMK candidate, he continued to remain a favourite until his death in 2018.
While the DMK polled 68,481 votes in the Egmore segment during the last Lok Sabha poll in Chennai Central parliamentary constituency, the PMK (in the AIADMK alliance) and MNM candidates polled over 20,000 votes and 11,000 votes respectively.
Naam Tamilar Katchi polled just 3,749 votes.