Sunday, March 27, 2011

Stalin, Vijayakant face off in Kolathur

HECTIC ACTION: Deputy Chief Minister and DMK candidate for Kolathur constituency, M.K. Stalin, campaigning at Kolathur on Saturday. Photo: M. VedhanCampaigning for the prestigious Kolathur Assembly constituency in Chennai picked up momentum on Saturday with Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam nominee and Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam founder Vijayakant canvassing.

While Mr. Stalin, accompanied by a host of people, including his wife Durgavathi and Chennai Mayor M. Subramanian, began his campaign after garlanding the Ambedkar statue near Thiru Vi Ka Nagar bus stand [falling under the Kolathur constituency], Mr. Vijayakant was in Kolathur to support the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and started his tour of the area from near Rettai Eri.

Mr. Stalin, focussing on the DMK government's achievements, reminded voters that apart from fulfilling electoral promises in 2006, the government was implementing several people-welfare schemes that had not been assured.

He also gave an account of projects being executed for the benefit of the people of Chennai.

He explained how the Perambur flyover, which was designed during the previous regime of the DMK, was neglected by the AIADMK regime during 2001-2006. Once the DMK came back to power in 2006, the project was completed and the facility put to use.

Terming the AIADMK-led front a confused alliance, Mr. Stalin alluded to Mr. Vijayakant and asked whether he and Ms. Jayalalithaa would jointly campaign. “Will he share the dais with her?” he wondered.
The DMDK founder, campaigning for the AIADMK candidate Saidai S. Duraisamy, criticised the DMK president and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi for aligning with the Congress.

He contended that C.N. Annadurai had formed the DMK to take on the Congress. How could the DMK leader claim that he was following the Anna path, the DMDK leader asked.

Mr. Vijayakant commended Mr. Duraisamy for running an organisation to coach youth who wanted to join the Indian Administrative Service. Hereafter, he would be called “Kolathur Duraisamy,” not Saidai Duraisamy, the DMDK leader said.

Will rectify anomalies in pay of State staff: Jayalalithaa

SUSTAINING MOMENTUM: AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa addressing an election campaign in Tiruchi on Saturday. Fans of actor Vijay also participated in the campaign. Photo: M. Moorthy
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, if voted to power, will rectify anomalies in pay scales of government servants and teachers, party general secretary Jayalalithaa said here on Saturday.
Continuing her tirade against the DMK government, Ms. Jayalalithaa alleged that it was the only government to reduce the salary of government employees.
There was no protection to the lives and property of people in the State. Judges, lawyers,
Dalits and government servants were being attacked. There was no press freedom. There was no governance at all.
On the third day of her campaign in Tiruchi, covering Tiruchi West, Tiruchi East and Srirangam Assembly constituencies, Ms. Jayalalalithaa, for the first time, sought to highlight the salient features of the party manifesto. She addressed huge gatherings in various parts of the constituency apart from several wayside meetings. Cadres of the AIADMK and other alliance parties and residents lined the main thoroughfares of the city. She listed the freebies promised by the party, prominently the assurance of supply of 20 kg of rice to all ration card holders replacing the existing Re.1 a kg rice scheme, free laptops for students, green house scheme for BPL families, three cent land for the homeless and four grams of gold along with marriage assistance for women. Apart from touching upon the 2G scam, she concentrated largely on price rise, power cuts and the poll promises of her party in rural areas. In villages, she assured farmers of free micro irrigation systems and an increase in the minimum support price for sugarcane to Rs.2,500 a tonne.
Addressing villagers at Jeeyapuram, she promised steps to set up a jasmine perfume extraction plant, a popular demand among jasmine growers in Koppu, Ettarai, Posampatti and other villages in Tiruch district. She also focussed on local issues, promising improvements in roads, bridges and other infrastructure. An integrated bus stand would be established in Tiruchi and the wholesale section of the Gandhi Market in the city would be shifted taking into account public opinion, she said.

Congress to lock horns with AIADMK in 35 seats

Of the 63 constituencies the Congress is planning to contest in the Assembly elections, it will have to take on All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam directly in 35.
They include Chennai constituencies such as Mylapore, Anna Nagar, Theyagaraya Nagar, Thiru.Vi.Ka.nagar and Royapuram. The Congress emerged victorious in Anna Nagar in 1991 and its breakaway group Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in Theyagaraya Nagar in 1996.
Besides, Poonamallee constituency, which is just outside the city limits, will also witness a direct contest between these two parties. In this constituency, the Congress won in 1991, 1996 and 2006.
Sriperumbudur, considered a stronghold of the Congress, where it won in 1991, 2001 and 2006, will also see a direct fight between the Congress and AIADMK.
In Vellore, which is deemed a citadel of the Congress as the party or its splinter TMC has won the seat four times since 1991, it will have to sweat it out against the AIADMK.
Similarly, in Udhagamandalam, the Congress, which has been returned from the constituency four times since 1991, will be pitted against the AIADMK.
In Papanasam too, which has been returning Congress candidates consistently except once during the past two decades, the Congress will be locked in a direct fight with AIADMK.
Aranthangi is likely to witness one of the most interesting tussles with S. Thirunavukkarasar, an AIADMK member for more than three decades, who has been elected to the Assembly six times, and now contesting on Congress ticket, pitted against an AIADMK candidate.
In Srivaikuntam too, the Congress has emerged victorious thrice in the past five elections. Now it will have to take on the the AIADMK.
Colachel has also returned the Congress candidate thrice since 1989. It will also see a direct fight between the Congress and the AIADMK. Same is the case with Killiyoor.
Other direct fights of the Congress with the AIADMK include Kalasapakkam, Krishnagiri, Cheyyar. A reading of the party's performance in the past five elections to the State Assembly (1989, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006), including that of its splinter Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) in 1996 and 2001, reveals that it has been performing consistently in some of the constituencies it has chosen now.
Nine of the constituencies given to the Congress are newly formed ones after the delimitation, and hence do not have a history.
Of the 26 constituencies it won in 1989, the Congress is now contesting from Sholinghur, Hosur, Udhagamandalam, Nilakkottai, Papanasam, Peravurani, Virudhunagar, Srivaikuntam, Vasudevanallur, Radhapuram, Colachel and Vilavankode.
However, the Congress might have to sweat it out in certain constituencies that have been the citadel of parties in the current alliance of the AIADMK. For instance, the Communist Party of India emerged victorious from Thiruthuraipoondi in all the five elections and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) won Vilavankode in the last three elections.
Most interestingly, the Congress (or the TMC) has not won even once in the past five elections in the following constituencies: Royapuram, Tiruttani, Mylapore, Alandur, Krishnagiri, Tiruchengode, Avinashi, Singanallur, Musiri, Vridhachalam, Sivaganga, and Thiruparankundram.