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Electors not buying poll promises in foulest edge of Chennai

Most parts of Chennai are elegant, while the sordid northern corner of this city remains buried under coal and industrial dust.

india Updated: May 10, 2009 14:15 IST

Most parts of Chennai are elegant, while the sordid northern corner of this city remains buried under coal and industrial dust.

People are tired of the perennial drinking water shortage, of having to suffer bad roads and above all industrial pollution.

The DMK, which holds sway over electors here, and the BJP have fielded debutants T K S Elangovan and Tamizhisai Sounderrajan, respectively, while CPI's candidate is its state secretary D Pandiyan.

Residents complain that promises by candidates in earlier elections to end their water woes, mend bad roads and stop the sea from eating into their land, have just remained on paper and continue to remain issues for this poll.

One of the area's famous landmarks, the Royapuram railway station, built in 1856 and one that marked initiation of rail services in the south, also stands run down and blackened by soot from the industries and coal dust left behind by trucks ferrying the fossil fuel to and from Ennore port.

All the candidates face the same problem: How to make candidates believe in their promises of making the place better?

The redrawn constituency, with 29 candidates in the fray, including V Yuvaraj of DMDK, floated by actor politician Vijaykant, comprises the assembly segments of Thiruvottiyur, Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar, Perambur, Kolathur, Thiru-Vi-Ka-Nagar (Reserved) and Royapuram, having lost Harbour and Villivakkam to Central Chennai during the delimitation exercise.

Fertiliser giant Madras Fertilizers Limited and Madras Refineries are among the many chemical industries here. People living in coastal areas like Royapuram, Kasimedu, Tiruvativoor and Manali complain of coal and industrial dust filling their homes.

Pandiyan, elected twice from this constituency in 1989 and 1991 on the Congress symbol when he was in the now defunct United Communist Party of India, has promised to ensure that infrastructure improvements are effected at the earliest.

He has promised to bring in a pro-labour policy if the Third Front forms the government at the Centre.

Pandiyan, who has been banking on his "clean image" has come under attack from DMK which had accused him of "suppressing" facts relating to his recently acquired property in the affidavit filed before the Electoral authorities.

Chief Minister M Karunanidhi himself targeted Pandiyan, whose party was an ally of DMK in the previous in 2004 polls but is now in the AIADMK-led front, saying he did not furnish details about the land he bought near Madurai recently.

However, the CPI hit back, saying Pandiyan was being "targeted" for being an important leader in the Third Front from the state.

First Published: May 10, 2009 14:14 IST