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Rediff.com  » News » In Chennai, party offices tell the story

In Chennai, party offices tell the story

May 16, 2014 19:44 IST

'I knew there would be a wave... but this is a Modi tsunami'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

While the Congress and DMK headquarters bore a desolate look with party supporters shocked at their dismal performance, the AIADMK and BJP offices were in a celebratory mood. Ladoos, drums playing and dancing on the streets were seen outside the party headquarters. Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com presents the different scenes.

You don't usually see party workers, the media or even onlookers outside Kamalalayam, the Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters in Chennai. It is usually secluded. But Friday is different.

Crackers are being burst, party flags are flying high, people wearing NaMo T-shirts are loudly cheering and sweets are being distributed.

By 10 am, all 5,000 ladoos, which had been ordered, are distributed. "We didn't want to wait for the complete result to be out. From the leads, we knew our party was going to win with a big margin. All the ladoos got over," says an elated S Ashok, who came all the way from the Nilgiris to celebrate the BJP victory in Chennai.

This young man has been a BJP worker for the last 15 years and did not expect such a landslide. "I knew there would be a Modi wave, but what we see now is not a wave, but a Modi tsunami."

T Sudarshan is disappointed with the BJP performance in Tamil Nadu. "We have not been able to contribute much from Tamil Nadu. I know we have to work hard. The only consolation is that though the AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) swept the state, the only other party that won a seat was us. But that is not enough."

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Image: BJP supporters gather outside Kamalalayam, the party headquarters in Chennai, to celebrate the victory.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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Modi will rule India for 20 years, not just 5'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Sudarshan is sure that under Narendra Modi, India will "bloom like a lotus."

"Critics called Modi a divisive figure. Let them see the number of seats we got. Do you think without the support of the Muslims and Christians, we would have won so many seats?"

"At least now, you should accept the fact that we are a national party of all Indians and for all Indians."

Waving the party flag, young party workers in NaMo shirts shout, "Modi will rule India for 20 years, not just 5!" Till he is 83?

"83 is not an age in politics. Look at so many of our politicians; they are 86, 88, etc. Modi will change the face of India like he did in Gujarat."

Have they seen what Modi had done in Gujarat, they admit rather shyly that they hadn't, but are quick to add, "But we know what he has done."

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Image: Modi supporters in NaMo T-shirts outside the BJP party office.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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'Even in my wildest dreams I did not expect such a poor result'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Satyamurthi Bhavan, the Congress HQ in Chennai, is deserted. Except for a few party workers who watch television, shaking their heads in disbelief.

K Vijayan, one of the party general secretaries, says he expected a bad result for the Congress. "But even in my wildest dreams I did not expect such a poor result."

When asked if Rahul Gandhi was not capable enough to lead the party, he says, "Don't ever expect me to say anything against the family; we are here only because of them. Without the family, there is no Congress. That one family has sacrificed so much for the country and the party, and we are always grateful to them."

"How can you blame Rahulji when state party workers have not done their work?"

He lists three reasons for the loss. "The first is corruption by the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam). A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran spoilt our party's name. We are suffering because of them. Secondly, they didn't appoint Rahulji as the prime minister in 2009. It was a big mistake making Manmohan Singh prime minister and lastly, we didn't tell people about our achievements," says Vijayan.

T N Asokan, who is playing a game on his mobile phone, looks up and says, "Remember, not only me, even my daughter, my granddaughter and my great granddaughter will support the family. They are born to rule and they will always be our leaders."

"Rahulji will help us bounce back after five years."

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Image: The Congress office in Chennai.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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'Only money power won Jayalalitha 38 seats'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Anna Arivalayam, the DMK headquarters, is desolate. A few supporters stand under trees, shock painted across their faces.

They are so angry that Jayalalithaa won so many seats that they start shouting at whoever asks them questions.

"You people (the media) are scared of her. You don't write anything bad about her. What has she done in these three years?"

"She raised the price of milk, electricity and water. And you want us to believe that people still voted for her? It is pure cheating."

"She seized all the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and altered the results."

"She distributed money in all the villages. It is only money power that won her 38 seats."

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Image: The DMK office.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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'Kalaignar and Stalin will come back strongly'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

Mastan, a DMK supporter, is angry with all those who talk about the 2G scam. "Because of Raja and Maran, you get to use mobile phones at cheaper rates and you call him corrupt. It was as if the UPA only had the 2G scam. The list of the other scams is quite long."

Ayesha, a refugee who came from Sri Lanka several years ago, scolds us for "helping Jayalalithaa win" so many seats.

"What has that woman done which our Ayya has not done? She is corrupt while our Ayya is kind and works for poor people like us. Kalaignar (DMK leader M Karunanidhi) and (DMK Working President M K) Stalin will come back strongly and sweep the assembly elections. She will be humiliated like we are now."

I flee the DMK office for fear of being manhandled by angry supporters.

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Image: Ayesha, a refugee from Sri Lanka, says Jayalalitha hadn't done anything for the state.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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'We are sad that Amma can't be PM, we thought she would'

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Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com

While silence and gloom surrounds the Congress and DMK headquarters, the roads outside the AIADMK office are taken over by people dancing, bursting firecrackers and playing drums. Amma's name is being yelled with much enthusiasm.

Hakimbhai who had been working for the party for many years, is not surprised at the result. "Amma had said she would sweep all 40 seats. We are sad that Amma cannot be prime minister. We thought she would. Anyway, it doesn't matter. Modi is said to be a good friend of Amma. We are sure he will do good things for everyone."

Durairaj is happy that the "family" is demolished. He isn't referring to the Gandhis. "The family I speak of is the DMK. Who are its members? Father, son, nephew, daughter... but look at our Amma. She works for the people and not for the family. That is why people love her."

I ask Ashraf Khan if he feels insecure about Narendra Modi becoming prime minister. "People are spreading all kinds of lies about Modi. There are Christians and Muslims in the BJP, it is not a Hindu party. I have full faith in Modi. I know he will be a very good leader and there won't be any corruption."


Image: AIADMK supporters celebrate.
Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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