What was initially thought to be a cakewalk for the DMK, the contest in Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency between a salaried Dayanidhi Maran and businessman-cum-electoral debutant S.R. Sam Paul of PMK seems to be turning into a decent fight.
In his election affidavit, former Union Minister Maran has declared himself as a salaried person with an income of about Rs 2.83 crore for the fiscal 2017-18 from salary, MP pension, dividend and interest.
"I will not take even one rupee as MP's salary if I win the election. Politics is not my business. I have my own businesses. I am not entering politics to expand or protect my business interests. I am happy with what I have. There is no point in accumulating wealth beyond certain limit," Paul told IANS.
Paul's business group is the franchise for couple of international lifestyle brands like Toni & Guy (hairdressing), Casa Picola (European bistro concept outlet), Haagen-Dazs (ice cream desserts), Doner Kebab (German fast food chain) and he also runs homegrown brands like Jonah's Bistro, SLAM Lifestyle and Fitness Studio, Sarah's Soul Kitchen, Chakra Urban Spa and Sulthan's Biriyani.
Put together, the group boasts over 225 outlets under its belt and growing.
"During 2015 Chennai floods, we worked to provide relief to the affected. Helped about 2.5 lakh people. Then I decided to get into public service. I liked the policies and principles of PMK Founder S. Ramadoss and joined the PMK," Paul said.
Asked why people should vote for him, Paul said: "I am a professional and can bring in professionalism in public life. I will launch an App to enable people to access the public services online."
Water is a major problem in Chennai Central constituency and Paul said he would work to solve it by building a new reservoir and also by linking rivers.
With the PMK part of AIADMK-led alliance that includes the BJP, Paul does not see losing out on the Christian minority votes.
On his part, Maran campaigns attacking the Tamil Nadu and Modi governments on the water woes.
The AIADMK is extending its full support to Paul.
Paul will also be crossing swords with Kamal Haasan-floated MNM party's Kamila Nazar and others.
In 2014, AIADMK's S.R. Vijayakumar defeated Maran to wrest seat from the DMK.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)