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CHENNAI CENTRAL

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Chennai
May 02, 2004 05:34 PM IST

Dayanidhi Maran, a third generation politician from DMK President M Karunanidhi's family, appears to have distinct edge over AIADMK's S Balaganga in the Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency.

Satellite TV tycoon Dayanidhi Maran, a third generation politician from DMK President M Karunanidhi's family, appears to have distinct edge over AIADMK's S Balaganga in the Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency from where he is making his electoral debut.

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HT Image

Balaganga has never tasted success in the electoral arena whether it is for local bodies, state assembly or Lok Sabha.

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Maran is hoping to cash in on the charisma and political clout of his late father Murasoli Maran. Senior Maran, who was a Union Minister, had represented the seat for about a decade till his death last year.

Dayanidhi Maran had a meteoric rise in the DMK since his father's death.

He began the year associating himself in a meeting between the Congress working committee member Mani Shankar Aiyar and Karunanidhi, which laid the foundation for restoring ties between the two parties after a gap of 24 years.

From then on, he never looked back and was involved in forging alliances between the DMK and other parties and had become a think-tank of the party.

One of the smallest and the only total metropolitan Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu, Central Chennai has always been considered a bastion of the DMK. All the six assembly segments of this constituency are controlled by the DMK and its ally Congress. The constituency with nearly 11 lakh voters has a mixture of Telugu speaking people, Scheduled Castes, Vanniyars, Christians and Muslims. The educated middle class, Government employees and traders also make up a good part of the electorate.

At a public meeting at Purasawalkam where the DMK introduced its party candidates for the city, 37-year old Maran, CEO of multi-system operator Sumangali Cable Vision requested the electorate to give him a chance to finish incomplete work of his father.

Recognising the fact that stepping into his father's shoes would be a major task, Maran, in immaculately fitting designer clothes, says he would try his best to fill the role.

He makes it his duty to draw people's attention to the fact that he is the son of the late Murasoli Maran.

On the other hand, Balaganga, is making a brave bid to woo the electorate by making promises that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa would ensure that some solution was found to the water crisis which has gripped the city.

Recently the ruling AIADMK Government had dropped two criminal cases against Balaganga registered by the previous DMK regime in early 2000 for damaging property and causing law and order problems following the conviction of Jayalalithaa in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case.

When asked about his chances, Balaganga says he expects to do well.

Since its inception in 1977, the constituency comprising assembly segments of Park Town, Purasawalkam, Egmore, Anna Nagar, Chepauk and Thousand Lights, had elected DMK nominees five times, Congress twice and Janata Party once.

The Chepauk and Thousand Lights assembly segments are currently held by Karunanidhi and his son and DMK youth leader M K Stalin.

Besides Balaganga and Maran, there are 21 candidates, including Sagul Hameedhu (BSP) and G Venkatesan (Janata Party) and 19 independents.

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