Urban voters of Chennai Central constituency have chosen the Karunanidhi-led DMK since 1996 – giving the last two terms to former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran and the three before that to his father, the late Murasoli Maran.
However, things looks tough for sitting MP and Karunanidhi's grandnephew Dayanidhi, who is aiming for a hat-trick from the Lok Sabha seat.
A lot has happened between the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and the upcoming polls.
Dayanidhi's name got tainted in the 2G spectrum scam after the CBI registered a case against him in 2011 for the Aircel-Maxis deal, activist and former bureaucrat Arvind Kejriwal formed his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the anti-corruption plank, and the country saw the rise of the so-called 'Narendra Modi wave' as the Gujarat chief minister became the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
The strongest challenger to the DMK in Chennai Central is still the AIADMK, which is fielding the party's youth wing secretary SR Vijayakumar.
But the two new players – the BJP-led alliance and the AAP – are likely to eat at the votes of the two traditional rivals.
The candidate from the BJP-led NDA is Constandine Raveendran of alliance partner DMDK, Congress has fielded CD Meiyappan while social activist J Prabhakar is contesting from AAP.
The AIADMK's 'Brand Amma', referring to its supremo and Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, has been revitalised since the party routed the DMK in the 2011 assembly elections. The DMK lost five of the six assembly seats in Chennai Central. The six assembly segments in the constituency are Villivakam, Egmore, Harbour, Chepauk-Triplicane, Thousand Lights and Anna Nagar.
Also, while Dayanidhi was sullied by corruption charges, an issue that finds traction with the urban constituency, the AIADMK has enjoyed a relatively controversy-free run since 2011.
But Dayanidhi may just scrape through yet. Besides the new entrants splitting the vote-bank of the AIADMK, Dayanidhi can be sure of the sizeable Muslim vote since the two minority parties are in alliance with the DMK. Of the total 14 lakh voters in the constituency, the Muslim voter population is estimated at 90,000.