Chennai: The prestigious Anna Nagar constituency in the heart of the city, where state minister S.Gokula Indira is seeking re-election, seems to be heading for a straight contest between AIADMK and DMK which is battling to regain its lost fortress in the capital.
The constituency which was formed in 1977 was a DMK citadel, electing the party chief M. Karunanidhi two times, its general secretary K. Anbazhagan once and former treasurer ‘Arcot’ N. Veerasamy thrice. Gokula Indira secured 88,954 votes (58.67 per cent) and won the 2011 Assembly election with a huge margin of over 36,000 votes.
Though considered to be a posh area with bungalows and apartments, middle class and lower middle class people form a major chunk of voters at Aminjikarai, Choolaimedu and Shenoy Nagar.
Residents come out with mixed reaction on the performance of Gokula Indira, who seems to have a slight edge over DMK candidate M.K. Mohan who is not popular in the area.
People credit her with fulfilling the drinking water needs of the constituency. Gayathri, a resident of Muthumariamman colony, said, “Though, the minister’s immediate reaction following the floods was not appreciated, she made up for it by visiting every street affected by floods and carrying out relief measures. The minister’s office reacts quickly to solve civic issues like stagnation of sewage or garbage”.
However, traffic congestion in the area is a big problem and people complain that the minister had not fulfilled her promise of constructing a flyover along Nelson Manickam road.
Besides, the construction of the Anna Nagar Arch fly over had not been completed. The AIADMK candidate is facing opposition among a section of people at Naduvankarai and Bharathipuram due to attempts to remove encroachments in their area.
Preethi, a resident in Manjakollai street, said, “About 20,000 people are living here. We voted for her last time as she promised that the government would not remove our houses. But, now they are trying to demolish our houses saying they are renovating the canals. They are promising to give alternative site for us at Okkiyam Thorapakkam, Kannagi Nagar and Semmencheri which is far away from the city. Our children are studying here and we are also working here”.
An AIADMK functionary at the MLA office said, “We are receiving petitions from the public everyday and solving their grievances. Traffic congestion in the area is due to construction of flyover near the Anna arch and metro rail works. The minister had constructed school buildings from her constituency development fund. She has also built two blocks in Kilpauk government hospital”.
Though, the percentage of votes polled by AIADMK in the Assembly segment in 2014 Parliament elections came down to 45.82 per cent, DMK got only 31.88 per cent of votes.