Raucous campaign in Tamil Nadu comes to an end

May 11th, 2009 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Chennai, May 11 (IANS) Electioneering by Lok Sabha aspirants for the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and the lone seat in Puducherry came to an end Monday evening, giving citizens some respite from the cacophony that went on for over a month.
The AIADMK-led five party alliance was ahead in campaigning as compared to its rivals like the DMK front, Bharatiya Janata Party-led front and the actor turned politician Vijaykant’s party DMDK.

One of the notable aspects of the campaign was the helicopter-hopping by AIADMK general secretary J. Jayalalitha from one constituency to another covering two per day as against her usual style of going by road and addressing people while sitting inside her van.

At all her meetings Jayalalitha went hammer and tongs at the DMK and Congress on the issues of spiralling price rise of essential commodities, corruption - at the state and central level - inaction of the state and central government to protect the Sri Lankan Tamils, sand mafia and the law and order situation in Tamil Nadu.

Coalition party leaders like Vaiko, MDMK, S. Ramadoss, PMK and national and state leaders of the two left parties focussed their energies on the constituencies in which their party candidates are seeking people’s verdict.

The two Left parties - the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and Communist Party of India (CPI) - had their national leaders like Prakash Karat and A.B. Bardhan and others campaigning for the Third Front in Tamil Nadu.

In terms of star value the front led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had both political and movie stars campaigning.

BJP’s political stars who campaigned in Tamil Nadu included its prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The movie star line up included Tamil heroes Sarath Kumar and Karthik and Hindi movie heroine Hema Malini.

Kumar and Karthik have floated their own parties which are part of the BJP-led front.

The BJP is confident of winning the Kanyakumari seat and is keeping its fingers crossed in Ramanathapuram and Coimbatore seats.

It was the DMK-Congress that lagged behind in electioneering owing to the ill health of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and other issues.

The half-day fast undertaken by Karunanidhi to highlight the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka didn’t give the party the expected mileage and the reduction in bus fares attracted negative media coverage.

Till the last moment the presence of Congress’s star campaigners Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi was uncertain.

Sonia Gandhi cancelled her trip once at the last moment citing Karunanidhi’s bad health.

It was also said the meeting was cancelled as the DMK chief was upset with Rahul Gandhi’s statement in a press meet that his party is open to have post poll alliance with like minded parties including AIADMK.

The past three days saw Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia visiting Tamil Nadu.

But Manmohan Singh did not address a public meeting in the state during his visit.

The DMK alliance is banking on the Re.1/kg rice and free television schemes to fetch votes.

Tamil Nadu and Puducherry go to the polls May 13.

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