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TN urban elections: Youth, old, trans people, and even nomads contesting polls

- February 10, 2022

Chennai, Feb 10 (BPNS)

With the last date for withdrawal of nominations for the Tamil Nadu urban local body polls over on Monday, 9th February 2022, there are tech-savvy youth, old social activists, nomads, and even transgenders as candidates.

Kamakshi Subramaniyan (94) is contesting the elections from Besant Nagar in Chennai as an independent candidate and has been actively involved in the social firmament of the area. She was instrumental in supervising the road tarring and drainage work in the area and ensuring that the quality of work is not compromised by the contractors.

The nonagenarian while speaking to BPNS said, “ I am always with the people of the area and I hope that they would support me by voting for me. However even if I don’t win, I will always be with the people and won’t allow any corrupt officials or contractors to get through my eagle eye in the development activities of the Besant Nagar area.”

Bharathi Kannan is a self-confessed nomad who had bicycled for 6000 km through all the districts of Tamil Nadu creating awareness among people of pressing environmental issues and fighting rampant consumerism.

He is contesting from Ward No 47 of Chennai Corporation and speaking to BPNS said,” I am contesting the elections to be among the people and to help them understand better the rampant consumerism as well as against environmental degradation. I would make sure that the elected representatives are serious in their work and be full-time active for the people of the ward.”

Interestingly youth are also not left behind with Preethi Vettrivel (23) is contesting as an independent candidate from Ward 132 of Chennai corporation.

Preethi has been a social activist all through and was involved in all the pressing problems faced by the people of the area. Preethi while speaking to BPNS said, “ Youth are more at ease on latest technologies and are more energetic and I have been working in tandem with the corporation during floods and the pandemic. The counselor acts as a bridge between people and the government and is a very crucial post.”

Another interesting factor that is being witnessed during the run-up to the Urban local body polls is the presence of transgender people in the elections. While transgender people had contested in the general election and in the 2021 assembly elections as independents, the mainstream political parties giving tickets to transgenders in a local body poll which is fiercely contested is a progressive development. Ganga Nayak, Secretary, South Indian Transgender community is contesting as a DMK candidate from Ward 37 of Vellore Municipal corporation. Jayadevi is an AIADMK candidate from Teynampett in Chennai corporation while Rajamma is a BJP candidate from the posh Tiru Vi Ka Nagar ward of Chennai corporation. 

With the Urban local body polls not held in the state for the past ten years, those in the fray in the elections are full-time social activists who have made a mark in their respective wards. It is to be seen how these candidates will garner votes and whether the electorate will put their preference to these candidates.