Tamil Nadu MP on a 'poll' walkathon | india | Hindustan Times
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Tamil Nadu MP on a 'poll' walkathon

Tamil Nadu is not scheduled to see any major elections in the next two years. Even civic body polls got over a few months ago. But, this MP, belonging to the Congress, is hitting the road regardless.

india Updated: Jan 28, 2012 17:32 IST
HT Coresspondent

Tamil Nadu is not scheduled to see any major elections in the next two years. Even civic body polls got over a few months ago. But, this MP, belonging to the Congress, is hitting the road regardless.

Halfway into his Lok Sabha term, parliament member representing Kanchipuram neighboring Chennai, P Vishwanathan, will be mingling with voters from Sunday morning in an 8-hour a day grueling walkathon with an intent to cover 40 km a day.

Christened “Makkalum, Naanum” (mass and myself), the 100-day padayatra would get Viswanathan to visit hamlets, villages and towns of the reserved constituency. The journey begins from Kanathur village on East Coast Road, some 40 km from Chennai.

A few years ago, voters of Bikaner in Rajasthan had “lodged missing person’s complaint” and put up “wanted” posters to complain that their MP film star Dharmendra had gone missing. Their contention was that he had done the vanishing act since winning on a BJP ticket in 1999.

Though not to this extent, a common complaint in general across the country is that the elected representative is visible only at the next elections.

With this “peacetime” activity, Viswanathan, a former national volunteer service activist and social worker, would set in motion a prolonged campaign.

When not walking, he would be cycling.

“I was inspired by Rahul Gandhi’s visits to dalit homes in remote villages,” Viswanathan told Hindustan Times on Saturday. Kanchipuram too has some remote and inaccessible villages.

Divided into six phases, one each for the six assembly segments of the constituency – none of which elected Congress or its ally DMK in the last assembly elections, each phase would be of 600 km.

With breaks in between to allow Viswanathan attend parliament and meet other commitments, the yatra will culminate in December. “I would have met many people and collected so much important data that will help me plan MPLAD scheme better,” he told Hindustan Times.

Some 100 volunteers would accompany the first time MP, who had spent all the money from MPLAD scheme and was given an additional Rs 35 lakh for the scheme last year.

“My objective is to meet people and sort out their problems on the spot. I will take up the rest with appropriate authorities,” Viswanathan said. High on his list of talking points is UPA government’s social welfare schemes and their implementation on the ground.