Campaigning picking up in Tamil Nadu
Chennai: Electioneering for 39 Lok Sabha seats that face voting on April 24 in Tamil Nadu has been gaining momentum with heads of political parties and their candidates going all out to woo voters.
Though the election process has not begun formally in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK supremo and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who is on her second phase of campaign has been criss-crossing every nook and corner of the state beating the scorching sun to ensure that her party wins more number of seats.
The electoral authorities will issue notification setting in motion the poll process on March 29 in Tamil Nadu.
Jayalalithaa, whose party has taken the electoral plunge without forging poll truck with any player and even dumping former allies, the two Left parties, is keen to realise her ambition of playing a prominent role at the national level after the polls.
Jayalalithaa seems to be planning on taking advantage of the political turmoil that has beseiged DMK, particularly in the wake of the sibling war between Karunanidhi`s sons -- Stalin and Alagiri and also to cash in on welfare programmes she has been implementing after returning to power in the 2011 Assembly polls.
The electoral battle in Tamil Nadu has also undergone changes over the years, which largely had the characteristics of bipolar -- with DMK and AIADMK fighting between them in the wake of emergence of local outfits like DMDK, MDMK, PMK, VCK and others.
The coming poll has also witnessed birth of hitherto unseen political combinations as evident from the birth of a rainbow alliance sewn by BJP with five local outfits.
For the first time after a gap of several years, two Dravidan parties-- DMK led by M Karunanidhi and AIADMK headed by Jayalalithaa - have not taken any national outfit on board.
DMK took a stubborn stand on what it termed as "untrustable" ally Congress for the political vendetta unleashed against it during UPA-II rule.
DMK supremo Karunanidhi holds Congress responsible for the trauma his party, his daughter Kanimozhi and former Telecom minister A Raja underwent after being implicated for their role in 2G scam.
Jayalalithaa`s main poll plank is what she has termed the "failures" of Congress and DMK, besides informing the electorate the pro-poor programmes and welfare initiatives of her government.
Interestingly, in the party manifesto for the LS polls she has promised to extend freebies for the entire electorate in the country like distribution of mixer grinder, colour television sets and laptops.
However, Jayalalithaa has been avoiding criticism against BJP and its Prime Ministerial candidate, which she feels is not warranted under the circumstances.
Wary of the BJP-led alliance roping in a few local players, Karunanidhi during his inaugural electioneering in Chennai yesterday, hit out at Congress for its `vengeful" politics that troubled his party, but however said he was ready to support Sonia Gandhi party in the post poll scenario, if it proved its "secular" credentials.
His statements are seen as an attempt to lure the votes of Dalits and minorities.
Congress, pushed to the wall without allies, is fighting a lone battle, putting up a semblance of fight fielding candidates in all 39 constituencies.
Congress`s Manishankar Iyer contesting Myladuthurai seat and Karti, son of Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram from Sivaganga, have already hit a campaign trial.
Similarly, cine star-turned politician Vijayakanth has also plunged into the campaign to drum up support for NDA allies.
Electioneering is expected to touch a crescendo in the coming days as top leaders from Congress like Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP president Rajnath Singh, Modi and others address rallies in parts of Tamil Nadu.
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