Chennai: With the upcoming by-election scheduled for April 12 in RK Nagar, the constituency of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, will witness a set of multi-dimensional players from AIADMK and other parties fighting for that one assembly seat. Voters have started queuing at the Zone-IV office in R K Nagar, to apply for new voters’ id and to renewing their old ids from black and white to colour.
The multi-players include TTK Dinakaran of the Sasikala led AIADMK party, senior AIADMK member Madhusudan from the O Pannerselvam faction, followed by Dravida Munetra Kazhagam’s candidate N Marudhu Ganesan. However, MGR Amma Deepa Peravai party of Jaya’s niece Deepa is yet to announce her decision to contest this by-election, and national parties BJP, Congress, CPI have not announced their candidates until now. Meanwhile, the regional parties have not announced their interest to contest this election, neither extended their support to any key players.
The north Chennai constituency, had elected late J Jayalalithaa twice, and an exclusive win in the last 2016 elections with a huge margin of 39545 votes . However, at present many voters have expressed their distress, in the slowdown of governance in the local government bodies since the sudden death of Ms J Jayalalithaa.
However, amid growing excitement among people to vote their new MLA, many voters have expressed their growing distress since the sudden death of the AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa.
Kannammal Aarumugam, a nominee of old age pension scheme and a resident of Mayor Basudevan street, has claimed irregularity in the distribution of pension for the last five months. “I received my last pension in the month of October. If Amma was alive, we would have got our money on time. No officer ever had the audacity to deny our rights, but after her death everything has changed.”
It is reported that pension money was earlier delivered through postal service, whereas now officers set up a camp for a day on the roadside and distribute money. Many pensioners complaint that their names got dropped off, as the officials claim that the thumb prints did not match their identity. The failing mechanisms to deliver the pension money for the last few months, have attributed to the growing dissatisfaction among the public on the poor administration the present State government.
Kalpana, (39) a house wife, “If V K Sasikala or her close aides step into our area, they will definitely get thrashed. I strongly believe Deepa is the right person to question the autocratic rule of Sasikala.
However, her neighbour a middle-aged man Murugan jokes, “We will vote for anyone who gives us the most money,” indicating the existing trend of the vote-for-money in this state.
Moorthy (52), a disabled man covered under State government pension scheme for disabilities says, “I have been under the pension scheme, since the time it was Rs 75 to now receiving Rs 1000 per month. For the last four months I have not received my pension money.”
“We are now eligible to buy 5 kg rice and 2 kg sugar from the Public Distribution system run ration shops, but there are no stock of palm oil and the pulses. This is the beginning of the Jaya-less governance”, adds a worried Moorthy.
A DMK supporter, M R Nagu (75), a laundry man, a 60 year resident of RK Nagar says, “Though I belong to the opposition party, I do admit that this constituency got primary focus when amma was alive. She had the grit to hold authorities accountable for their mistakes. I went twice to the Tasildar office to complain on the delay in pension, yet no one has looked into our problem.”
He points at the small TV in his shop and says that his vote is definitely for the DMK candidate Marudhu Ganesan.
However, an official of the Zonal office rejects these accusations says, “Demonetisation was the reason behind the slowing the process of distribution of pension money. It only slowed down, but did not stop the process.”
A 25-year-old Sheik Mohammad, a Uber cab driver, condemns the working of the current political system. “We need to change the whole system. We need more educated and responsible candidates to govern this state. This one by-election is not going to change the fate of this state.”
Meanwhile, Pammmal Srinivasan, a party spokesperson of MGR Amma Deepa Peravai which hopes to mark their presence in this election says, “It has been three days since we started distributing the membership forms and have sold almost 1 lakh forms. We will win this election and take-forward Jaya’s legacy”
This has made the north Chennai constituency, R K Nagar to turn desperate for administrative intervention to help them relieve them from this temporary fix. The multi-players launched from the several factions of AIADMK for this selection, has heightened the pressure on masses to vote for an appropriate successor for J Jayalalithaa.
The nomination begins on Thursday and the last date to file is 23 March. The votes will be counted on 15 April.