Chennai, May 4 (UNI) ''Even MGR could not shake it'', an autorickshaw driver who has been plying in an area falling under the constituency since the early 80s, says enthusiastically about the DMK which has made its bastion, another key constituency in the city- Saidapet.
In ten elections till 1996, since this constituency came into electoral fray in 1957, the DMK has won seven times from here. In the 2001 assembly polls too, a DMK candidate Y Perumal emerged victorios. But following his demise, the ruling AIADMK managed to wrest it in the byelection in 2003 by a narrow margin though.
For the May 8 elections, with local issues like water and road facilities always dominating the constituency, the main contenders are Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), part of the DMK led DPA and archrival AIADMK's G Senthamizhan, an advocate making his debut at the hustings. The DMK has allotted the seat to PMK this time as Vanniyars, towards whom the PMK is disposed, dominate the 3.5 km radius constituency.
Also in the fray is a BJP candidate P Ranganathan while actor Vijayakanth's DMDK, contesting for the first time, has fielded R Venugopal.
With louds speakers blaring propaganda songs and speeches and appeals of various candidates and leaders of the parties in fray renting the air in the narrow streets, Saidapet, prone to tension during the polling process, is vibrant where one can feel the election atmosphere.
For the PMK candidate, this will be the second attempt to emerge victorious and he claims that the response to him is ''very good.'' It was Baskaran who had lost to DMK candidate Perumal by a small margin of 2040 votes in the 2001 assembly polls when his party PMK was in alliance with the AIADMK.
Asked about the issues he is highlighting, Baskaran says he has been convincing the voters that all the promises in the DPA's manifesto especially the DMK would be fulfilled. ''They are good promises'', he adds.
Having completed a d'tour of the constituency in his 'prachara vandi''(vehicle), Baskaran is now concentrating on door to door campaign.
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