Constituency round-up: Ex-MLA and ex-Councillor face-off in fisherfolk-dominant Thiruvottiyur

Thiruvottiyur has a huge fisherfolk population with both key parties fielding candidates from the community. Amid concerns over pollution and livelihoods, who will emerge victorious?

Thiruvottiyur assembly constituency is one of the many that will see the DMK and AIADMK go head to head in the upcoming assembly polls. The constituency has also gained attention due to another candidate, Seeman, the leader of the Naam Tamilar Katchi. The assembly seat has been vacant for over a year due to the death of DMK MLA KPP Samy who had won the seat in 2016. 

The constituency includes areas such as Thiruvottiyur, Kathivakkam, Chinnaseekadu, Manali and Ernavur. Fisherfolk form a huge part of the voter base and their issues take centre stage here. Both major political parties have chosen to field candidates from the fishing community. AIADMK has chosen former MLA K Kuppan who has held the seat twice, while the DMK has fielded K P Sankar, the brother of late MLA KPP Samy.

Representative image.

With increasing industrialisation, growing pollution and the livelihood challenges affecting the people, the task ahead of the candidates is tall. The campaigns so far have been built around welfare of fisherfolk, allaying fears around Kattupalli port expansion and the promise of better infrastructure. 

Voter base (2016)

  • Total number of voters: 2,62,300
  • Male Voters: 1,32,293
  • Female voters: 1,29,954 
  • Third gender: 53
  • Polling percentage: 66.25%

2016 Election Results

PartyCandidateVotes acquiredPercentage of votes polled
(As per ECI website)
DMKK. P. P. Samy82,20543.25
ADMKBalraj B77,34240.69
DMDKArumugam A V13,4637.08
PMKVasanthakumari R4,0252.12
NTKGokul R3,9612.08

Source: ECI

MLA Profile 2016

  • Name: K P P Samy (Deceased) 
  • Party: DMK
  • Age: 57
  • Victory margin: 4,863 votes
  • Promises made: N/A
  • Criminal cases: 1

Source: ECI 

In the news

  • The constituency has been without an MLA since the passing of  K P P Samy in February 2020. The by-elections were postponed due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. Hence the vacant seat is set to go to polls along with the rest of the state on April 6. This election sees the deceased MLA’s brother K P Sankar contest from Thiruvottiyur as the DMK candidate. K P Sankar has previously served as a local body councillor.
  • The late MLA K P P Samy was held in 2011 on a murder charge relating to the disappearance of a fishermen, Chelladurai and Velu, in 2006. His brother K P Sankar, the present DMK candidate, was also implicated in the case.
  • K P P Samy pointed out the lack of basic amenities in the fishing harbour and demanded that the state government take action on the same. The government  responded that it will be looking into bringing the Chennai harbour under its control to improve the facility. 

Know your candidates this time

S. NoNamePartyAgeOccupation/EducationCriminal Cases
1R EgavalliNaadalum Makkal Katchi41Business/ Class 8Nil
2M SoundarapandianAmma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam57Business/ B. ANil
3K P SankarDravida Munnetra Kazhangam47Businessman/ Class 92 pending cases, 0 convictions
4M KotteswaranBahujan Samaj Party26Labourer/ Class 10Nil
5K KuppanAnna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam67Contractor/ B. ANil
6D MohanMakkal Needhi Maiam48Business/ Class 10Nil
7SeemanNaam Tamilar Katchi55Director/ B.ANil
8V Suresh BalajiIndependent33Salaried/ B.ScNil
9C DhanrajIndependent47Advocate/ B.A ; B.LNil
10N Rajesh KumarIndependent37Engineer/ D.E.E.ENil
11D SasirajSamata Party37Advocate/ B.Com; B.LNil
12U VenkateshIndependent26Labourer/ Class 10Nil
13K GopinathIndependent46Labourer/ Class 9Nil
14N RameshkumarIndependent61Business/ Class 12Nil
15B PravinaIndependent47Advocate/ MBBS; B.LNil
16M ChellamIndependent51Business/ Class 10Nil
17D ThamizhizhanIndependent27Fisherman/ B.ANil
18B DhanasekaranIndependent47Construction/ Class 6Nil
19M A MichaelrajIndependent52Contractor/ B. ScNil
20B Zakir HussainIndependent47Advocate/ B.LNil

Source: ECI. To know more about the candidates, check their affidavits here.

Key issues:

  • Rampant pollution is a key factor that affects the life and livelihood of the residents in the constituency. The polluting industries that discharge effluents into the Kosasthalaiyar river operate without any checks and balances. “I have been a resident of the area for the past 40 years, the pollution has become worse with time and it is affecting our health. The water is dirty and there is shortage every summer,” says Pattamal K, a shop owner.
  • The presence of the thermal power plant and the resultant air pollution has been an issue that many residents have voiced their concern about. “We have been fighting against the worsening air quality to no avail. The power plant has caused our quality of life to deteriorate. We all have breathing issues, but nobody is concerned about such effects on the people who live nearby,” says Sekaran R of Ennore. 

Read more: Chennaiites rally together to save Ennore creek as wanton damage continues unchecked

  • The concerns of the fisherfolk in the constituency remain unaddressed. The upcoming Katupalli port expansion has created anxiety among the fishing community over the continuance of their livelihoods. “We have been hearing various things, that once the port comes up we will not be allowed to fish in the area and that our catch may decline. We want the government to secure our livelihood,” says Karthik D of Netukuppam. 
  • The constituency has some of the more flood-prone areas and suffers from inundation. Measures to mitigate flooding, such as the construction of stormwater drains, have only been initiated in the last year. “We hear about flooding in the city but hardly any attention is paid when our areas are waterlogged for days when it rains. We hope that the drainage issues are sorted at least this year,” says Laksmi Kanth, a resident of Thiruvottiyur High Road near Ernavur. 

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