Srirangam: This abode of the famous
Vaishnavite temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy on the banks of river Cauvery in Tiruchirapalli may be set to score another feat by electing its `daughter` and AIADMK chief J
Jayalalithaa to the Tamil Nadu Assembly as she tests her
electoral fortunes for the first time from an urban seat.
The Srirangam Assembly seat, a traditional
stronghold of the AIADMK which has elected the party nominees
six times since 1977, is witnessing an interesting contest
between Jayalalithaa, a two-time chief minister, and a
political novice N Anand, the DMK nominee.
Except in 1989 and 1996, when there was a huge
anti-AIADMK wave in the state, the party has captured this
seat with huge margins and its candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha
polls emerged victorious as he had a difference of 21,000 in
this seat alone over his Congress rival Sarubala Thondaiman.
Jayalalithaa`s forefathers were born in this island,
which is bounded by the Cauvery on the one side and its
tributary Kollidam on the other, and the AIADMK chief sought
to strike a chord with the people by calling her choosing and
contesting from Srirangam as a homecoming.
"It is like homecoming for me. This is where my
ancestors hailed from. Now I have come back to be one among
you," she said last week after launching her campaign from
here, sending the crowd to raptures.
Jayalalithaa shifted to Srirangam from Andipatti,
another traditional rural stronghold of the party that also sent her political mentor M G Ramachandran to the Assembly, where she won two times - 2002 and 2006. This is the first time she is contesting from an urban seat.
The mood is jubilant in this 2.20 lakh-strong
electorate constituency, dominated in equal measures by
Brahmin, backward Muthiraiyar and Adidravidar (SC)
communities, as the Opposition coalition`s chief ministerial
candidate and a `native` of this town is contesting.
"I will vote for her (Jayalalithaa) only. I have been
voting only for AIADMK for a very long time. But, this time it
is very special... She herself is contesting and she will win
for sure," Gururajan, manager of the Sri Swarnawarna Theerther
Brindavanam Mutt at the South Chitra Street that oversees the
`gopuram` (tower) of the Temple, said.
Majority of people in the four streets surrounded by
the famous temple, where Jayalalithaa herself is a frequent
visitor, echo Gururajan`s sentiments, saying "making her win
from here will help create history".
Though there are several issues that are to be sorted
out in this constituency, Jayalalithaa seeking a mandate from
here has overshadowed every other matter.
People who live on temple and mutt property want
pattas for their land.
Vasudevan, who had worked with automobile major TVS
in Chennai for several years, says people believe Jayalalithaa
will do good for her community and general public.