For K. Maniraj, 58, the Assembly election has given a new turn to his life. He has jumped into the fray.
Having ventured into manufacturing in 1989 with a bank loan of ₹20,000, Mr. Maniraj had worked long hours and handled multiple tasks to grow to provide jobs to 25 persons now. When the Bureau of Indian Standards marking became mandatory in 2006 for pumps, he founded an industrial body, Kovai Power Driven Pump Manufacturers Association (KOPMA), to represent the hardships that the micro units faced.
“In 2015, when there was an economic slowdown we [the micro units] suffered losses. Then came demonetisation. When we came out of that, the government introduced the GST. We are yet to recover from the impact of the GST. Then, it was the pandemic. Though the government extended support to the micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs] in June last year, it did not help all the micro units. Worse, there was no one to take up the plight of these units. None of the elected representatives came to our rescue,” Mr. Maniraj says.
Hence, with the support of KOPMA members, he decided to contest in the election. “I represent the MSMEs and the industries here. The MSMEs should become a vote bank to get the government’s attention. We need to constantly pursue with the government our needs. I feel I can do this better if I am an elected representative. Only entrepreneurs who constantly interact with workers and other industry owners can understand the challenges faced by the MSMEs,” Mr. Maniraj says.
Several MSMEs have welcomed his decision, and some of the large industries here are also extending him support, he adds.
He will file his nomination as an Independent candidate from Singanallur. “If I join any party, only supporters of that party will vote for me. I represent the MSMEs, and am seeking the support of the entire industry and the workers at these units,” he says.