Know your candidate: THYAGARAYA NAGAR
About the constituency
It is arguably Chennai’s busiest shopping destination and in the recent years, has become a hub for the Carnatic music season with popular sabhas like Vani Mahal and Bharat Kalachar hosting kutcheris.
One of the well-connected areas in Chennai, T-nagar is also a hub for city bus services. Housing a large number of temples, including the famous Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam, a Shiva- Vishnu temple and the Krishna Raghavendra Mutt, it has also become a much sought-after destination for spiritual purposes.
The constituency has had quite an unpredictable political history, with two MLAs from DMK and AIADMK respectively and one Congress MLA (A Chellakumar) holding office in the last two decades. Some of the biggest problems in Tnagar are acute water shortage during the summer months, traffic congestion, illegal encroachment of road space by hawkers and pollution.
Name: VP Kalairajan
Education: MA, BL
Experience in politics: 25 years
Total Asset values: `59,80,538
Native: Orathanadu, Thanjavur
AFTER completing BA from Serfoji College, Thanjavur, Kalairajan came to Chennai in 1983 to study at the Madras Law College.
In 1987, he entered politics and went on to become the State Joint Secretary of AIADMK’s Student Wing in 1992, and held the position for four years. He then served as the state secretary of the Students’ Wing for threeand- a-half years and District Secretary for South Madras for the same period.
He was also the state joint secretary of the Literary Wing and secretary of the Youth and Youth Women’s Wing.
He was a lawyer for nine years and still has an office at the High Court. Kalairajan is currently serving as MLA for Tnagar.
Common problems in the constituency: He identifies traffic congestion, rainwater management and education as areas of importance in his constituency. “I would get a number of complaints on drainage, drinking water problem and various other civic issues over the phone. As a member of the opposition, I addressed these issues with the help of the government officials,” he says.
Familiarity with the constituency: Over his tenure, Kalairajan says he has given all his attention to the cause of education.
“There are 27 schools in T.Nagar. I have allotted `3 crore to the building of schools in my constituency. I organise award functions for meritorious students from government and private schools annually. Most of the constituency funds are used for education.” The MLA regards the supply of power to the Rajupillaithottam Slum as one of his most significant achievements.
“They had no electricity.
I assured people of development. When the government refused, I approached the High Court and got an order in favour of the plan.
The slum, which houses more than 1,000 families is now in a much better condition.”
Name: A Chellakumar
Experience in politics: 24 years
Profession: Businessman. He owns a petrol
bunk in Madurvoyal.
Total Asset values: `4,20,88,481
Native: Nagarkoil, Kanyakumari
A CHELLAKUMAR came to Chennai in 1985 after completi n g M B B S f r o m Thirunelveli. Two years later, he was elected the president of the NSUI (Congress’ National Student Union of India) and went on to serve as the MLA from Anna Nagar, between 1991 and 1996. He then took control of the Tnagar constituency between 1996 and 2001, and is contesting from this area once again this year.
Common problems in the constituency: “Falling on the tail end of the water storage point, Mambalam has always had water problems. At times, ground water is unavailable even 300-400 feet below.
Traffic and parking problems, and illegal encroachment of land by hawkers are the other issues,” he says.
Many hawkers have been allotted shops of their own by the government, but they tend to return to their familiar spots. However, evicting these hawkers is not the solution, opines the MLA. “It would affect their livelihood. We could instead adopt a smarter model like the underground shopping complex of Palika Bazaar in Cannaught Place, New Delhi.” Having served in Tnagar previously, Chellakumar says he has a clear idea about the area and its challenges. “When I was the MLA in Tnagar, I conducted more than 300 faceto- face meetings with the public and government officials about civic problems, with the help of Exnora.
I got a lot of suggestions.
We started work on the construction of the Rangarajapuram Subway.
We got the railway clearance and had funds allotted for it. But the elections took place then and the AIADMK came to power.
The proposal was dropped,” he says.
About the opponent: When I took over as MLA for Tnagar, Rajupillaithottam was a notified slum.
The slum land was bought by a powerful man, who tried to evict people, demolish their tanks and their toilets. He even forced the corporation not to remove the garbage from there. But I took it upon myself to get the slum cleaned and even provided them electricity.
Now, after all my efforts, Kalairajan takes credit for the development of the slum.”