Kasi, who is on the wrong side of 70s, was one among those who waited on Saturday on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway in Natrampalli, about 75 km from here, for a few hours to see Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.
Braving the hot sun and the temperature of 40 degree Celsius and plus, Kasi did not even have footwear. Asked why he had come, his reply was: “I may not be able to see him again, given my age." In normal times, that spot in Natrampalli would have been just another place located off the highway. But, on Saturday, a number of people had come from nearby villages and areas. For about two hours, members of the DMK were making the place full of activity with some beating drums and some others, wearing t-shirts with the colours of the party, going around in two wheelers and hailing their leader.
By the time the Chief Minister arrived there, it was close to one o'clock in the afternoon. The DMK cadres, along with those of the Pattali Makkal Katchi and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, shouted “Kalaignar Vazhga!" The next stop was Vaniyambadi. The narrow CNA Road was full of people on either side, particularly near the local bus stand. Senior citizens and women belonging to the Muslim community were the visible section of those who were eager to have a glimpse of the Chief Minister. The police found it extremely difficult to control the crowd which was about to break the security cordon. The convoy was back on the National Highway. This time, the destination was Ambur. An equally good number of people was there to greet the DMK leader. Many of them had come from 18 nearby villages. Everywhere, Mr Karunanidhi spoke briefly. His theme was: A vote for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led front in the Assembly elections would ensure the continuance of welfare schemes of the DMK government.
As he covered different parts of the Vellore district, he was accompanied by one of his senior colleagues and the party nominee for the Katpadi constituency, Durai Murugan. The DMK chief, who began his second round of election campaign on Wednesday in Coimbatore, came from Salem to Natrampalli in the afternoon. En route, he addressed people in parts of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts.
After a few hours' rest at the VIT campus, Mr Karunanidhi went to Katpadi to seek votes for Mr Durai Murugan.