Chennai: Harbour, one of the oldest Assembly constituencies since 1952, is witnessing a three-way race between the three Dravidian parties, AIADMK and DMK besides MDMK which has fielded a Muslim candidate in a seat where minority votes are crucial in swaying the poll outcome.
The MDMK is the only major party which has fielded a Muslim candidate Murath Buhari, while the DMK has pitted its district secretary P.K. Sekarbabu. The ruling AIADMK has nominated former Park Town MLA K.S. Seenivasan and BJP, which has influence among migrants from Gujarat and Rajasthan, besides traders, has fielded Krishnakumar Nathani.
It is one of the DMK’s bastions, where party leader M. Karunanidhi, became the lone party candidate to be elected in 1991 in the aftermath of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. He also won from the same seat in 1989 when he became Chief Minister. The seat had elected DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan in 1996, 2001 and 2006.
The Indian Union Muslim League was with DMK since 1967 and after the emergence of Manithaneya Makkal Katchi which polled 4.92 per cent votes in the Assembly segment in 2009 Parliament elections, AIADMK’s Pazha Karuppaiah won the seat with MMK support in 2011. Minority contestants K.S.G. Haja shariff (Congress) was successful in 1962, while A.M. Moideen (Independent) won in 1971.
MDMK legal wing deputy secretary Natarajan, who is in charge of poll campaign, said “The minority votes in the constituency will add up with the votes of DMDK-PWA alliance to make our candidate victorious. Besides, the AIADMK and DMK which have represented the seat many times have not solved the basic issues like drinking water, traffic congestion and drainage problems”.
He also pointed out that MDMK lost the seat by a narrow margin of about 400 votes in 2006, when Anbazhagan was the DMK nominee. Strongly denying the MDMK’s claim, DMK candidate Sekarbabu said “Prominent Muslim parties, Indian Union Muslim League and Manithaneya Makkal Katchi are with DMK. Besides, people know that the votes that go for MDMK will be wasted as the party is not a major contender”.
He said “The AIADMK candidate who was elected last time has openly said he was not able to do anything for the constituency. During the floods, government failed to take up rescue measures and relief operations too were poor.”
The AIADMK candidate Seenivasan is known to the people as parts of Park Town, which he represented have been added to Harbour. He is promising to build houses for roadside dwellers and bring basic amenities to the area, stressing that AIADMK would be the ruling party and a ruling party member alone could solve the constituency’s problems.
With the three candidates evenly matched, the outcome could go any way depending on whether Muslim voters go for a minority candidate or parties representing them. The Socialist Democratic Party of India, a Muslim outfit, is contesting alone and it could get some of the community votes. The PMK has pitted Suresh Kumar in the constituency....