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From starched khakhis to karai veshtis
A man in khakhi, once saluted by everyone, was recently seen knocking doors. When the door opened he greeted with folded hands, asking for votes.

That’s a new avatar of Dr R Nataraj, former DGP, Tamil Nadu, now MLA. Right from his entry into the 1975 batch of Indian Police Service, he has had an enviable track record of heading several successful missions.

Nataraj believed in resolving issues through talks. His clean record as a civil servant has been a big help in winning the Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2016 at the elite Mylapore constituency. This Master in Physics now deals with the chemistry of the people.

 

Government to governance...

 

In a lucid address at the Hindustan Chamber of Commerce, Nataraj pointed to the ocean of difference between what he did as a civil servant and in his present position as a representative of the people. “In khakhi, you are on the ground facing the public and problems have to be resolved immediately. You were not given time to prepare for the issue to be addressed. The police service is expected to provide timely solutions. You are supervised by superiors, media, general public,” said Nataraj.

Policing is a visible form of government: high profile, with huge tension and the imperative to resolve problems with no gestation period. As a government servant, his role was to enforce rules and laws enacted by the state. Now as a MLA, he is a law maker; he has to interact with people, know more about their problems and resolve these effectively.

He talked of how he is getting adjusted to the new realities. Nowadays election campaigns are closely monitored, reported and analysed. He would have never expected a sub-inspector to direct him to remove the party flags erected at a polling booth!


Ace strategist...

The election campaign gave Nataraj the opportunity to go to the length and breadth of his constituency. He still remembers the days when he would go there to catch hold of wrong-doers. But now he enters these areas to entreat people to support him.

He noticed a welcome attitude on the part of slum dwellers who expected candidates to visit each and every house, interact with them and listen to their woes. In multi-storeyed apartments, security guards were instructed to block party men soliciting support. It was a new experience for the former police chief!

Nataraj formulated a different strategy to access the apartment voters. He took the help of local youths to enter the apartments without party flags to campaign for him. It proved to be so effective, said Nataraj.

Nataraj noticed that certain government services are not delivered to residents in remote areas. He found qualified and talented slum youth moving about without direction and pondered ways to motivate them to productive work.

 

Tasks in hand...

 

Nataraj said his priority is to restore Mylapore to its glorious past and ensure it is both clean and green. He has planned to launch a dedicated mobile app to reach out to people, take complaints and resolve their issues.

His focus areas include: solid waste segregation, skill development in youth and reduce traffic congestion in and around his constituency, Mylapore. He is active on the social media and you can ping him there for quick resolution of issues.

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