All eyes on Jayalalithaa in Srirangam

She has never lived here nor does she come here even occasionally.

Updated: Apr 05, 2011, 10:20 AM IST

Srirangam: She has never lived here nor
does she come here even occasionally. But residents of this
temple town on the banks of River Cauvery have developed an
emotional attachment to AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa ever since
she announced that she will contest the Assembly Elections
from here.

There are no flags, posters and hoardings seeking
votes from the people on the narrow lanes that lead to the
famous Vaishnavite shrine, Sri Ranganathaswamy, but the
residents and tourists who flock to this town talk a lot about
the April 13 elections, especially the contest between
Jayalalithaa and her rival DMK`s N Anand, an electoral novice.

Gangan, who is into selling and buying cows for the
past several decades, says Jayalalithaa`s family used to stay
in the East Uthara Road that overlooks the Temple and that her
father was an advocate.

"She is one among us. She is a native of Srirangam.
Jayalalithaa belongs to a very big family and now she is
contesting from here... so she has come back to trace her
roots," he said as he discusses the election with one of
his friend from a near-by mutt in the South Chitirai Street.

Sreenivasan, a young graduate who is working with the
Sri Swarnavarna Theerther Mutt, agrees with him and says he
will vote only for the AIADMK chief.

"I will vote only for her...It`s my wish. I am
inspired by her and I will vote for her only," he says when
asked to explain why he will vote for Jayalalithaa.

The discussion again comes back to Jayalalithaa`s
origin and what her ancestors were doing here. Gangan claimed
the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was born here and her
family later migrated to Mysore in Karnataka.

"They were here only and her father was a lawyer...
they come from a very well-off family... later they went to
some other place. But she belongs to this town," he said.

He also claimed that almost everyone in Srirangam knew
that Jayalalithaa belongs to this town and the outside world
came to know about this only now after she herself said she
hails from here.

PTI