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On the campaign trail with Jayalalithaa

Last updated on: April 5, 2011 11:17 IST

'Let us fight a war against Karunanidhi's family'

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A Ganesh Nadar in Tuticorin
'With their ministers in the central and state government they have earned more than any other family in the world.'

A Ganesh Nadar catches up with Jayalalithaa on her campaign trail.

In the run-up to the assembly election in Tamil Nadu on April 13, major political leaders are criss-crossing the state at a blistering pace to garner votes.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa held her first election meeting in Anna Nagar in Tuticorin.

Anna Nagar in Tuticorin is named after C N Annadurai, the first non-Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief minister of Tamil Nadu. When actor-politician M G Ramachandran broke away from the DMK, he named his party Anna-DMK. So, no surprises why Jayalalithaa chose to start her campaign from the region.

There was tight police bandobast in the area. People who had turned up to hear her speak were advised to leave their vehicles in the sidelanes and walk to the venue.

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Image: AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa addresses the gathering in Tuticorin
Photographs: A Ganesh Nadar/Rediff.com
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The highlight was a special song written for Jayalalithaa

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The party cadres had put up an open-top pandal that appeared smaller compared to the ones they put up during earlier election campaigns.

On stage, playing out under the hot sun, was an orchestra group singing songs from old MGR movies.

The highlight was a special song written for Jayalalithaa, which hailed her as a revolutionary leader of Tamil Nadu; as the mother of all its people.

The buzz at the venue was evident -- repeated announcements were being made about 'Amma' arriving at the venue at any moment, water melon stalls near the venue cashed in on the massive turnout, policemen were kept on their toes by supporters keen on catching a glimpse of their leader as she arrived.


Image: An orchestra kept the people entertained in the searing heat

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Jayalalthaa's seat slowly rose from the van...

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Before the leader's convoy rolled in came the cars of the Election Commission's observers trailed by police escort vehicles.

An approving roar went up from the public as Jayalalithaa's van arrived soon enough with her sitting in the front seat waving out to her supporters.

The top of her van opened up, Jayalalthaa's seat slowly rose from the van and the crowd went berserk at glimpsing her.

In the meantime, the orchestra handed the stage over to the candidates from the six assembly constituencies in Tuticorin -- five were from the AIADMK and one was from the party's ally, the Puthiya Tamizhagam.

The Puthiya Tamizhagam candidate was party president Dr K Krishnasamy.


Image: The six AIADMK alliance candidates from Tuticorin district

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'How are you going to stop such anti-national activities?'

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Jayalalithaa started her speech by attacking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi.

Claiming there was rampant rowdyism, sand smuggling and power cuts during Karunanidhi's rule, she pleaded with the people to rescue Tamil Nadu from the DMK family.

Raking up the 2G spectrum scam, the AIADMK chief said the scandal had cost the country Rs 1.8 lakh crore. "How are you going to stop such anti-national activities?" she asked the gathering.

"First they distributed TV sets worth Rs 2,000 with public money. Then they earned Rs 1,000 per year as cable fees. All this even as the state accumulated debts of Rs 1 lakh crore. During the independence movement, we fought the British. Now let us fight the second war of independence against Karunanidhi's family," she said taking potshots at the ruling party.


Image: Jayalalithaa addresses the crowd from the top of her van

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'In one generation, they have become Kuberans'

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Kalanidhi Maran -- Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's grand-nephew and owner of the Sun television network -- was ranked 310 on Forbes's list of the super rich.

"Imagine the wealth of the other family members. The entire family must be the richest in the world," she declared, adding, "With their ministers in the central and state government they have earned more than any other family in the world."

"Tamil Nadu is behind all other states in progress because here only one family grows. In one generation, they have become Kuberans (Kuber, the Hindu god of wealth). This election is your golden opportunity to stop this," she thundered to applause.

"Will you make the DMK lose their election deposit?" she asked the gathering.

The reply was instant: "Yes!"


Image: A section of the crowd at Jayalalithaa's election meeting

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'Four goats for every family...'

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Touching upon local issues, Jayalalithaa promised to solve the drinking water problem, enhance compensation for fishermen during the lay-off period and retrieve Katchatheevu from Sri Lanka.

She also doled out extra incentives (other than the ones already mentioned the AIADMK manifesto).

"Four goats for every family living below the poverty line and subsidies for farmers who opted for the drip irrigation system."

Later, having introduced the six candidates from Tuticorin, she signed off with, "Anna naamam vaazhga, MGR naamam vaazhga (Let Anna's name endure, let MGR's name endure)."

Jayalalithaa then headed for her next meeting.


Image: Two men try to get a better view of Jayalalithaa's election meeting

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