He might have opted out to make way for his son. But finance minister P Chidambaram dominates the scene in Sivaganga in southern Tamil Nadu.
The seven-term MP - whose son Karti Chidambaram is fighting his first Lok Sabha battle - can escape neither the spotlight nor the brickbats directed against him as electioneering enters a feverish pitch.
Karti is quick to concede: "My father is the lynchpin of my campaign".
Chidambaram senior, after all, has an enviable record in this constituency, winning the seat seven times. In 2009, however, he just scraped through by a slender margin.
This time, the Congress - which alone is no major player in the state - has no allies to root for it. "My party is fighting the elections all alone in the state this time. I am fighting it out," Karti tells HT -often with his father by his side - on a busy campaigning day.
Karti is pitted against the AIADMK's PR Senthil and the BJP's H Raja. Senthil is not a seasoned politician but Raja is considered formidable. And both don't miss an opportunity to hit out at Chidambaram.
"People are upset with Chidambaram. He couldn't bring any industries. Or help the farmers," charges Raja. Karti counters, saying his father brought industries, employment, bank branches, et al to the constituency.
And one of the promises Karti is dishing out to people is starting agro-based industries in the constituency.
Raja said, "The Modi wave and Chidambaram's track record is working to our advantage." He said the fight was between the AIADMK and the BJP in Sivaganga.