Thousand Lights, from where Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin won thrice since 1996, will witness a battle of two contestants who seem to be campaigning rather aggressively over the last few days.
Hasan Mohamed Jinnah of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is contesting elections for the first time. He will meet B. Valarmathi of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, a senior politician who lost to the DMK's T.M.Anbarasan in Alandur in the 2006 elections.
Mr. Jinnah, a lawyer by training, is capitalising on what his associates consider “his image of an educated youth”, adopting the motto ‘For youth power, for real change'.
Attired in formals, he is accompanied by a team of youngsters on his door-to-door campaign. He has also been campaigning in the virtual world, through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
Ms. Valarmathi, on the other hand, seeks to strike a chord with women and persons belonging to lower income groups.
Her side believes that her ability to connect with the masses and the perspective that she has gained from her experience in politics will come in handy.
She is accompanied by a party worker dressed like MGR, standing in a vehicle that has speakers blaring out popular songs featuring the actor, often with lyrics coloured politically.
The issues that have gained importance in the constituency include the need for allotment of pattas for residents of slum tenements, public toilets for women, increasing the frequency of the bus services and better regulation of traffic.
Thousand Lights is a constituency that spans localities of very different kinds — from those which are largely residential or partially-commercial to those in very close proximity to the city's perennially active business hub.
The constituency comprises Periyar Nagar – North (Chennai Corporation Division 76), Periyar Nagar – South (77), Nungambakkam (78 ), Ko-Si-Mani Nagar (107), Nakkeerar Nagar (108), Thousand Lights (109), Azhagiri Nagar (110), Royapettah (112), Teynampet (113), Sathiyamoorthy Nagar (114), Vadapalani – East (118) and Kalaivanar Nagar (119).
The constituency has a total of 1,92,206 voters. There are 95,640 men, 96,526 women and 40 others. There are as many as 203 polling stations.
According to councillors working in areas coming within the ambit of the constituency, some of the divisions are very small in size and are already chocking, leaving little space for any major infrastructure project.
Some parts of Royapettah earlier had issues with the supply of Metrowater, but locals say the situation has improved. A petition for an electricity substation in the locality is also being processed, officials of the civic body note.
There are several slum tenements within the limits of Thousand Lights constituency. Residents of portions near Nandanam and some stretches around Greams Road say public toilets are an immediate requirement.
Residents of certain other localities on either side of Pondy Bazaar point to parking violations, poorly regulated traffic and congestion as primary concerns.
“The Deputy CM has done so much for the constituency and people are very satisfied. There is a great degree of expectation from me as I am his successor contesting here,” Mr. Jinnah says.
Ms. Valarmathi, on the other hand, says she sees the DMK facing a strong anti-incumbency wave.
“People feel let down. They are shocked at the scams that have come to light. There are people who need basic facilities and I have promised to deliver those,” she says.
What They Say:
Hasan Mohamed Jinnah, DMK candidate: I have been worked for the party since my childhood. The reception I have been receiving from the people of the constituency is very warm and encouraging. The schemes of the government have reached everyone. People I meet are expressing their happiness and satisfaction. Things look very promising for us.
B. Valarmathi, AIADMK candidate: People are very disappointed with the previous government and see amma as the only hope for them. During my campaign, I saw them eagerly tuning into the television to listen to amma’s speeches. In this constituency, I will look into their immediate requirement of basic facilities such as housing and toilets.