CHENNAI/NAGAPATTINAM: Covid restrictions are still in place, but every single political party in Tamil Nadu has begun campaigning works for the fast-approaching Assembly elections.
The DMK turned out to be the last entrant to the race — much behind the BJP which grabbed the eyeballs with its Vetrivel Yatra and the Congress which is trying to compete with its arch-rival by organising a ‘plough’ yatra to mobilise farmers in the State.
On Friday, the Dravidian major kick-started “Vidiyalai Nokki- Stalinin Kural” (Stalin’s message for a new dawn), a 100-day campaign to reach out to the public in each and every constituency of the State.
The grand opening of the campaign was done with none other than the party’s youth wing leader, Udhayanidhi Stalin from his grandfather and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s native village, Thirukkuvalai.
The young leader’s head bobbed out of the sun-roof of his sports car that toured around the humble village, at around 5pm.
Thousands gathered on the roadside, waving and cheering.
A grand ‘poorna kumbam’ was accorded to him as a token of respect at Shri Angala Parameswari temple, near Karunanidhi’s childhood home. Soon after, he was arrested for violating the Covid norms.
A big ruckus ensued; slogans rained all over the village, roads were blocked, agitations spread slowly all over the area. Udhayanidhi and a few other functionaries were detained and taken to a marriage hall. An hour later, they were released.
The party proceeded with its campaign till late evening after that, touching Thalaignayiru, Kallimedu and Vedaranyam. Udhayanidhi thundered that his party would return to power after the 10-year hiatus.
He claimed the DMK had the people’s mandate. But, going by the mood inside the camp, it seemed like Udhayanidhi does not have even his party seniors’ mandate.
Political heat over rising son
While a total of 15 leaders — including Kanimozhi, Tiruchy Siva, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Dindigul Leone, and K Ponmudi — are set to carry forward the 100-day campaign, the “special and exclusive opening” of the show by the young leader has set tongues wagging within the party.
Sources say that some leaders who are a part of this 15-member team were only informed about the campaign on Thursday night, just hours before Udhayanidhi hit the ground with much fanfare.
This, they believe is a strategy to project Udhayanidhi as the only face of the party apart from Stalin, something that must have come from the party’s political consultant Prashant Kishore.
“The impact could have been bigger had five leaders started the campaign on the same day from five different places, rather than just Udhayanidhi,” said one leader.
“The idea does not seem to be winning the election, but promoting Udhayanidhi as the face of the party.” That apart, there are also other concerns about the team within the party.
One, it lacks good speakers and orators.
“Those like Nanjil Sampath, who can enthral the audience and convey the message to them, are absent in the team,” pointed out another leader. Not just that, the team does not contain a single Muslim leader, considering that the minority votes mostly go towards the DMK.
Who goes where
Kanimozhi is scheduled to begin campaign from Salem on November 29, and cover Erode, Coimbatore, and Nilgiris over the next 10 days.
She and Thamizhachi Thangapandian have been included to cover women voters, while Anthiyur Selvaraj has been chosen to reach out to Arunthathiyars, in the Kongu region.
Former MP AKS Vijayan has been included to cover Dalit voters and delta farmers, while Dharmapuri MP Senthil Kumar and Salem MP SR Parthiban will cover the Vanniyars.
DMK condemns Udhayanidhi’s arrest
CHENNAI: DMK general secretary Duraimurugan condemned the arrest of party youth wing secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin, who was taken into custody by Nagapattinam district police at Thirukkuvalai on Friday, from where he was supposed to launch his 100-day election campaign tour.
“Udhayanidhi Stalin has been arrested to prevent the tour, but the programme will proceed as planned. The government should release him immediately and grant permission for the tour,” Duraimurugan said.
Source/ Courtesy: The New Indian Express