Tamil Nadu elections: Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar - A David vs Goliath moment?

J Jayalalithaa and Shimla Muthuchozhan
Sitting member of legislative assembly (MLA) and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is all set to re-contest from this constituency that has been her party’s stronghold. 

The constituency may see a three-way battle between the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), the DMK and People’s Welfare Front. 

The DMK has decided to field Shimla Muthuchozhan to take on Jayalalithaa. The 34-year-old claims to have known the constituency very well as she has been living there for over a decade. Jayalalithaa, meanwhile, was elected from this constituency after she became the CM again in May 2015. Founder of VCK — a party which is a part of the PWF alliance — Thor. Thirumavalavan may take on Jayalalithaa.

Strengths

RK Nagar has traditionally been the backyard for the AIADMK. In the past too, candidates who have now moved to DMK and others have contested from this seat as an AIADMK member and won. To add to it, her slew of social welfare measures like the Amma canteens, mineral water, salts and pharmacies have all helped her established a connect with her voters. 

Investments and growth has also been a factor to woo industrialists. This, coupled with incentives like VAT exemption on farm equipment may bode well for the chief minister. The leader may go on to win from the constituency, but her alleged arrogance may just cost her some votes. 

Weakness

Jayalalithaa’s handling of the Chennai floods, which submerged the city late last year, was not received well by voters. The opposition would like to cash in on this. 

It was reported that the leader just made one appearance in the affected areas and her supposed arrogance had irked people across the board. 

Moreover, her inaccessibility to other leaders who wish to reach out to the government in the state was criticised by leaders. “It’s a part of the country where I can’t even reach out to the chief minister. I have made several attempts to talk to their leaders without success. I have access to 28 states in this country, but in the 29th state, even if I call up, when I talk to the power minister, he would hear me and he would say ‘Okay, I will talk to Amma,” power minister Piyush Goyal had said. 

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