A 66-year old retired IAS officer, a native of Punjab, is fighting the May 16 Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu on the BJP's lotus symbol, in a rare instance of a north Indian testing electoral fortunes in the Dravidian heartland.

 

Ujagar Singh, a native of Khiali, about 21 km from Barnala in Punjab, is a candidate of the Akila Indiya Makkal Kalvi Munnetra Kazhagam (AIMKMK), an ally of BJP, from Sozhinganallur constituency in the city outskirts.

 

A former IAS officer of Tamil Nadu cadre of 1977 batch, he has held various positions in the state government and retired as Special Commissioner, Government Data Centre here in 2010.

 

Though he belongs to AIMKMK, he is contesting on the symbol of BJP in tune with the arrangement between the allies.

 

Asked what prompted him to jump into Tamil Nadu politics though he happens to be from Punjab, Ujagar Singh says, "I was convinced about the welfare programmes of the party like free education. Moreover, I was requested by AIMKMK chief Devanathan to fight the polls and I know him, he is a good leader."

 

He says, "Tamil people are very kind, nice and large-hearted, they have no jealousy and no chauvinism like you find in some other places in our country."

 

"Also, my decision to stay back is in fulfilment of my promise to late Chief Minister (AIADMK founder) M G Ramachandran, a great humanist who wanted officials like me to stay back post-retirement," he says, adding the idea was to continue to work for the welfare of the people.

 

"Also, my decision to stay back is in fulfilment of my promise to late Chief Minister (AIADMK founder) M G Ramachandran, a great humanist who wanted officials like me to stay back post-retirement,"

 

Persons like Ujagar Singh very rarely appear on Tamil Nadu's political horizon. Nearly four decades ago, a similar name was in the poll fray in the state.

 

It was S D Ugam Chand, a native of Rajasthan and a business man settled in Chengelpet near here. He won in 1980 and 1989 Assembly elections as a candidate of the AIADMK from Madurantakam constituency.