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Tambaram and Avadi municipal corporations were created within two months of the DMK coming to power. It was a rush job apparently attributed to the victory DMK got in three districts around Chennai. Since the local body polls had to be completed within six months as per court orders, the DMK embarked on this gameplan to leverage the goodwill they would be creating through this move. But its calculations may go awry.
Tambaram corporation includes five municipalities and five town panchayats. Vanniars, Mudaliars, Dalits and Brahmins are some caste groups significant in number here. The DMK routinely wins Assembly elections here. While Congress and VCK have some support, so do BJP and Puratchi Bharatham, a Dalit organization aligned to the BJP. PMK’s contesting has queered the pitch for the DMK. The reservation of mayor post for women has led to many local leaders fielding their siblings and family members as council candidates.
In 2011 census, the Tambaram corporation area had a total population of some Rs 7 lakh population. Today it has more than 9.5 lakh, which means a growth of more than 30%.
In 2011 census, the Tambaram corporation area had a total population of some Rs 7 lakh population. Today it has more than 9.5 lakh, which means a growth of more than 30%. The growth rate is six times overall state population growth, indicating a massive surge in migrant population.
Tambaram today has changed from a commuter-dominated suburb of Chennai into a self-contained hub for IT and other industries. There is a large population of north Indians and Brahmins who have moved from the city towards the suburbs. The BJP fancies its chances among these demographics.
The AIADMK is contesting on its own in 67 of the 70 wards but the talk in party circles is that the BJP voters will vote tactically for the AIADMK to defeat the DMK. The DMK is contesting in 57 wards leaving the rest to its allies. Independents vying for Muslim votes in Pallavaram and Pammal areas may split the vote against the DMK. Civic activists are in the fray for the votes in gated communities in Perungalathur, Selaiyur, Medawakkam and Sembakkam.
In Tambaram, like elsewhere, though the AIADMK and the BJP are on paper contesting separately their friendly relations are only too evident.
Bharathi Kannan, a journalist who is contesting as an Independent, hopes that voters will give as much weightage to local issues and candidates’ ability to solve civic problems as to parties and other issues.
BJP candidates have been promising many things saying they will deliver on them since their government is in power in the center. Their promises include upgrading Tambaram railway station’s status as a terminus, domestic airport at Tambaram, medical research facility at Sanatorium and so on. AIADMK candidates too have been piggybacking on their friendly relations with the BJP and making similar promises. In Tambaram, like elsewhere, though the AIADMK and the BJP are on paper contesting separately their friendly relations are only too evident.
The AIADMK eyes Coimbatore and Salem corporations in light of its strong showing in the western region in the Assembly elections. Tambaram is another that is in the party’s cross-hairs. Controlling a corporation close to Chennai, may well give it the striking distance from Fort St George it is seeking.
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