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'Kalaignar' on course for a hat-trick

Written by: Staff

Chennai, May 1 (UNI) It is not often that the smallest constituency in terms of area and the number of electorate is in the limelight in an electoral battle.

What makes it 'big' or key constituency in election parlance is who is seeking the people's mandate from there.

In the already heated campaigning in the midst of pre-poll survey predictions of titanic contest, Chepauk the smallest of the 234 consitutencies for the May eight assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, is among the key constituencies with none other than the DMK President M Karunanidhi leading the Democratic Progressive Alliance(DPA) front, seeking a hat-trick of wins from here.

The 83-year-old 'Kalaignar' has been nursing this constituency since he first won from here in 1996, downing a Congress candidate when his party swept back to power after being in the opposition during the MGR era, and again in 2001 when his party bit the dust against arch rival AIADMK. In 2001, he downed another Congress candidate R Damodaran. But the AIADMK wave nearly saw him meeting his waterloo at the hustings as he won by a thin margin of 4834 votes.

However, the writer-politician and a cricket lover, often described as 'Chanakya' for his avowed administrative ability, is confident that he would achieve the hat-trick (a rare feat in cricket though) and a record 11th victory, a milestone not achieved by any politician in the State.

It is not yet clear if the 1,04,191 voters, including 51,807 women would appreciate his unique feat of not attending the assembly to represent their grievances between 2001 and 2006. Kalaignar, by his own explanation, has been attending to their needs through a special constituency office he had set up near the cricket stadium.

However, as he slides through the ''Below Poverty Line''(BPL) areas of the three km radius constituency which has some of Chennai's famous landmarks like the palace of Prince of Arcot and the Marina beach, women shower rose petals at him.

But the other two candidates, especially his main opponent representing the IUML(TN) M G Dawood Miakhan making his electoral debut as part of AIADMK front, and another debutant actor Vijayakanth party DMDK's P Narayanasamy and the BJP's R N Sivanesan are not done in.

They hold out against the DMK stalwart, his failure to attend the assembly, claiming that the voters would not take kindly to it.

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