Former Union IT Minister and the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's sophisticated face, Dayananidhi Maran is fighting a tough battle as he seeks a second term to Lok Sabha from the party's traditional stronghold, Chennai Central constituency.
Tech-savvy Maran with sophisticated looks and designer clothes who stands apart from the rest of dhoti-clad politicians is pitted against All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's minority wing secretary S M K Mohammed Ali Jinnah in a constituency that has a considerable chunk of Muslim voters.
Chennai Central has virtually remained an impregnable fortress of DMK, barring twice.
In 1977, when the constituency was carved out of South and North Madras, erstwhile Janata party nominee, P Ramachandran was elected with the support of the DMK. In 1984, Era Anbarasu of the Congress won the seat.
A young Maran, grandnephew of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, entered the electoral field in 2004, a year after his father and former Union Minister Murasoli Maran, considered the DMK patriarch's "conscience keeper", passed away after representing the constituency for three terms.
From being a shy businessman to a high profile Union Minister, Dayanidhi Maran had a meteoric rise to become the DMK's national face and outshone other ministers from the party, playing a key role in bringing in huge investments to the country, particularly Tamil Nadu.
It is on this and other accomplishments that Dayanidhi Maran is banking upon for his victory in the May 13 Lok Sabha elections.
Maran also says he is one of the MPs, who fully utilised the MP development fund for the betterment of the constituency and most of the railway subways and flyovers, constructed with the fund were his major achievements.
Maran also promises that he would continue his 'good work', if re-elected.
This complete urban constituency suffers from lack of infrastructure, traffic hurdles, bad roads and frequent load shedding.
Both DMK and AIADMK are holding out promises to the electorate that they would mitigate the sufferings of the constituency, which also has an elite touch being home to many top industrialists, IAS officers and judges.
Jinnah harps on the feud that once had soured relations between the families of Karunanidhi and the Maran brothers and says the peace 'purchased' between them could end anytime.
An opinion poll published in Tamil daily, Dinakaran -- owned by the Maran brothers that projected Karunidhi's son M K Stalin as his heir apparent over the other son Madurai-based M K Azhagiri, was the last straw in their strained relations.
The development had pushed Dayanidhi Maran into political oblivion for a brief spell but he has now bounced back to the limelight after the two families patched up early this year.
Jinnah says the civic corporation of Chennai, controlled by the DMK, was ignoring the needs of the citizens. His leader Jayalalithaa's vision had brought drinking water shortage to an end through the Veeranam project, drawing water from a lake located about 200 km away to the city.
Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi, floated by Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam, has also fielded its General Secretary Hyder Ali, former Chairman of the State Wakf Board apparently eyeing the Muslim voters.
Maran also claims credit for the sanctioning of the Rs 9,757 crore, two-phased Metro Rail Project by the Centre.
While the first phase would commence from Washermenpet to Meenambakkam airport via Egmore and Teynampet, the other line would be from Fort St Georgre to St Thomas Mount via Anna Nagar, Vadapalani, Ashok Nagar and Alandur.
A total of 37 candidates are in the fray from the Central Chennai Constituency comprising 137 sq km.
The Chennai Central constituency has a total number of 9,75,217 voters including 4,89,902 men.
The chief minister represents Chepauk, which falls under Chennai Lok Sabha constituency, which has also three ministers -- Arcot N Veerasamy (Anna Nagar), M K Stalin (Thousand lights) and Paruthi Ilamvazhuthi (Egmore). All six assembly segments were won by the DMK in the 2006 polls.
The other candidates in the fray are the actor politician Vijay Kanth led DMDK party's V V Ramakrishnan and BSP's Yunus Khan.
The Central Chennai Constituency comprises Park Town, Purasawalkam, Egmore (SC), Anna Nagar, Thousand Lights and Chepauk assembly segments.