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Mylapore ready for colourful battle

Mylapore, which elected a faceless BJP leader in 2001, is seeing a colourful poll fight, reports GC Shekhar.

india Updated: May 03, 2006 12:21 IST
GC Shekhar

A comedian, a villain, a former IAS officer who braved an acid attack and two US-returned desis.

It may sound like a plot custom-made for a Kollywood potboiler. Only the scene is Mylapore constituency in the heart of Chennai.

Mylapore, which elected a faceless BJP leader in 2001, has not seen a more colourful poll fight. DMK shifted Napoleon, a villain on screen despite the heroic name, to this middle-class borough.

With a ticket, the AIADMK rewarded comedian SVe Shekher for silently supporting the arrest of Kanchi Sankaracharya and for promptly removing the seer's photo from his car's windshield.

With the BJP's backing, Subramaniam Swamy is fielding former IAS officer VS Chandralekha.

"Why do you need a villain or a comedian when you can elect an experienced IAS officer?" asks Swamy. Chandralekha faced an acid attack for reportedly opposing Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa's purchase of TANSI property in the first tenure.

Ranged against them is 'Americai' Narayanan, an NRI who left his job in the US on Rajiv Gandhi's call, joined the state Congress and worked in the slums for a decade. Now he is a rebel candidate after the party refused him a ticket.

"I'll definitely get 30 per cent of votes from the slums and 50 per cent votes of the educated people. It will see me through," says the sun-burnt Narayanan as a boy follows with a kite — his symbol.

Santhangopala Vasudev a UStrained economist, is also in the fray as the candidate of the Lok Paritran, the newly floated party of students and IIT alumni. Vasudev's plank is likewise urban — a techno-driven, economically sustainable solution for the city's problems.

Tech is in the air. If Vasudev takes the e-mail route to reach out, Narayanan SMSes, his latest being "What is Americai Narayanan's symbol?" Will it work in Mylapore where people go for one of the major symbols?