An on-the spot report from R K Nagar
Chennai Mar 29: The by-election to the R K Nagar Assembly constituency, to be held on April 12, has brought the focus back on Tamil Nadu politics that had gone silent after the drama-filled days of February that were more frenetic than the final overs in an IPL clash and more crowded and confusing than the 8 a.m. Dadar-Virar fast train.
As is well known, the R K Nagar seat had fallen vacant due to the jailing of V K Sasikala, who otherwise would have legally inherited the MLAship of the constituency, after the demise of J Jayalalithaa. We don’t know what is the law elsewhere in India, but in Tamil Nadu MLA rights are transferable in most constituencies. Wives contest, and win, on behalf of husbands. Sons do so for dads. Elections are held under Inheritance Laws in TN.
But with Sasikala removed from the scene, the RK Nagar bypoll is attracting all kinds of attention, and the main interest is, of course, on the names of the two AIADMK factions, funnier than even Rising Pune Supergiants, which for the record still remains the worst name that was voluntarily chosen.
Crank’s News sent its formidable reporting team to R K Nagar to bring a ringside view of the constituency, the issues it faces and the politics, and our team, as expected, got struck in the notorious Tondiarpet Road traffic. So we just made up this report:
R K Nagar constituency: The RK in RK Nagar, as can be easily guessed, stands for RajniKanth, who has firmly announced that he is not supporting any party in this election, which is amazing considering that he has no voting right in this election.
The moment one sets foot in the area, which is a high-profile location thanks to it being former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s constituency, one can smell the unmistakable excitement of polling in the air, and over above that one can smell the even more unmistakable pollution from the nearby Kodungaiyur dump.
This pollution issue has been plaguing the area for over two decades and every person who has been elected from this constituency had promised firm and permanent solution for the pollution. “The air is strongly mixed with arsenic substances like politicians promise,” is the World Bank report on the pollution in the area.
R K Nagar is an important hub of North Chennai, at the time of election that is, otherwise on other occasions nobody knows whether it exists or not. North Chennai is to Chennai what Northeast is to India — a part that is not exactly a part. It will be fair to say that more people from South Chennai have more acquaintance with North US than North Chennai.
The chief business interest of the constituency is, of course, elections, as this is the third year in succession that the area has gone to polls. RK Nagar constituency New Year calendars come with details of the election dates and stuff.
Political side: This by-election, coming on the back of tumultuous events in the ruling AIADMK, is extremely important as whoever is the winner will get the bragging rights for, well, bragging. Otherwise, it is just another bypoll.
The AIADMK has split and the two factions are contesting under two different names, which are: AIADMK (Silly) And AIADMK (I am also Silly).
Okay, one is AIADMK Amma and the AIADMK Purtachithalaivi Amma. One represents the Sasikala faction, and the other OPS side. The winner of the bypoll is the one who can tell which is what. Sasikala camp has got the ‘hat’ symbol, while the OPS team has been given the ‘electric lamp post’ symbol but is contesting on ‘two lamps’ symbol.
TTV Dhinakaran, who was expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa when she was alive, is promising to bring her kind of politics alive. If he gets elected, he might have to expel himself. The OPS camp’s candidate is E Madhusudhanan, who is a party veteran at being a party veteran. Otherwise no one knows what he has done of worth.
Dhinakaran has promised, among other things, free wifi at bus terminus, giving hope to large youth base of the constituency that they will also give the bus terminus some bus connection, which is what the area so sorely lacks.
The DMK, on the other hand, has fielded Marudu Ganesh, a well-known face to his friends and family.
The BJP too has put in the fray music director and lyrics writer Gangai Amaran, and he is expected to give a real tough fight to anyone who is going to come third or fourth.
The CPI-M too has announced a candidate unilaterally much to the surprise of the other partners of People Welfare Alliance, who till date had not realised that CPI-M was part of its alliance. Vaiko’s MDMK is not contesting this poll, so those who are going to lose will have to blame someone else other than Vaiko. The Congress, for its part, has not said anything but no one, including the Congress people, has noticed that yet.
Jayalalithaa’s niece Deepa is contesting the election on the valid electoral grounds that she is Jayalalithaa’s niece.
On the whole, it is an interesting by-election something that people will be keenly following till April 5, after which the IPL starts.
PS: In this piece, we had somewhere mentioned that Rising Pune Supergiants is the most silly voluntarily chosen name. But while going to the press we figured out the winner in this contest has to be: MGR Amma Deepa Peravai.