Middle class should exercise right to vote: La Ganesan


Chennai : With the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) hopes pinned on middle class votes to grab South Madras and North Madras – the two Chennai parliamentary seats that it is contesting, the party’s Tamil Nadu president La Ganesan is urging this section of voters to exercise their franchise.

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“Forty percent of the South Madras’ educated, middle class voters do not vote. They should realise it is their responsibility to vote,” Ganesan told IANS.

The BJP is the only national party in the poll fray in Chennai, which has three Lok Sabha constituencies – South Madras, North Madras and Central Madras.

“Ours is the only party that claims it will form the government at the centre. The Tamil Nadu voter generally differentiates between the assembly and the parliamentary elections,” said Ganesan.

Contesting from South Madras, Ganesan will be crossing swords with DMK’s R.S. Bharathi, PMK’s A.K. Murthy and DMDK’s Gopinath.

The party’s North Madras candidate is Tamizhisai Soundararajan.

According to Ganesan, people should take into consideration a party’s policies as well as the prime ministerial candidate while casting their vote.

For a long time, Chennai was considered to be a DMK bastion but the AIADMK changed that by winning seven of the 14 assembly seats in 2006.

Much of the swing happened with the middle class coming to vote in large numbers, gladdened by the AIADMK’s measures to solve the city’s decades-old drinking water problem.

The BJP is betting on the same section of voters to take it to victory.

The party has sewn up an electoral alliance in the state with the AISMK, NMK, Janata Dal-United (JD-U), Janata Party, DVK and the Bharatiya Forward Bloc. The last three parties will not contest the polls but will extend support.

The alliance partners will be fighting for Puducherry’s lone seat and 20 of Tamil Nadu’s 40 seats. Leading the pack, the BJP is contesting in the union territory constituency and 11 seats of Tamil Nadu.

“We are contesting on a realistic basis. We have pitched candidates only in those constituencies where our alliance stands a good chance of winning,” said Ganesan.

“Our party may contest one or two more constituencies in the state,” he added.

The BJP will raise issues like price rise, scarcity of essential commodities, and law and order problem during its campaign.

“When it comes to power, the BJP will bring down the housing loan interest rate to eight percent to prop up the housing market. We will also introduce reservation based on economic criteria for those who are currently outside the reservation fold for jobs and seats in educational institutions,” Ganesan told IANS.

In the 2004 parliamentary polls, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won 35 of Tamil Nadu’s 39 seats. The remaining four seats were won by the Left parties. The PMK won the Puducherry seat. The BJP failed to mark its presence in the state.