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For 37-year-old Dayanidhi Maran, it has been a smooth transition from business to politics. Son of the late Murasoli Maran, Dayanidhi -- who runs Sumangali Cable Vision, a Chennai cable television operator -- and his elder brother Kalanidhi Maran who runs the Sun TV network, almost monopolise the entire cable network in Tamil Nadu.

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Muthuvel Karunanidhi sent the first signal that his grand nephew Dayanidhi would take over from his late father when the Congress party's Mani Shankar Aiyar called on him to discuss a possible alliance ahead of the election.

The man who was at Karunanidhi's side then was the suave Dayanidhi. Hence, his nomination from the Chennai Central constituency, which his father represented in the three previous Lok Sabhas, did not surprise anyone.

Chennai Central, which came into being only in 1977, is smaller than the other two Lok Sabha seats in the southern city, and has an electorate of 1,043,081 -- men and women almost equal in number.

The seat is considered a DMK bastion. Barring two occasions it has always elected a DMK leader or the party's ally. In the 2001 state assembly election, the DMK won five of the six assembly constituencies in Chennai Central: Karunanidhi, his son M K Stalin and party veteran Arcot Veeraswamy account for three of those seats.

Given this record, it is obvious Dayanidhi Maran is in for a cakewalk.

Reportage: Shobha Warrier | Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj
Design: Rahil Shaikh

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