Jaya on the stumpMay 11th, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Poll Pourri
Under the merciless sun, hundreds of activists of the AIADMK and its allies are gathered in Sriperumbudur; they are handed sachets of drinking water and treated to popular MGR music numbers as they wait patiently for the arrival of AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa.
Even two decades after his death, M.G. Ramachandran seems to hold sway over the masses. The crowd cannot control itself when the loudspeaker blares out the number ‘Naalay Namathey’ (Tomorrow is ours) and ‘Neenga Nalla Irukkonum Naadu Munnera’ (You must progress if the nation is to progress). By the time Ms. Jayalalithaa arrives, the crowd is primed.
The AIADMK leader is all business; she doesn’t test the crowd’s patience by letting other speakers drone on before her speech. She climbs on to the dais, greets the crowd and begins her speech.
As the star campaigner of the AIADMK-led front, she has had to cover all the 40 constituencies in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry within 15 days. Ms. Jayalalithaa has done so by helicopter, an option forced on her for security reasons, she says.
She reads out from a prepared text, though occasionally she goes extempore. She talks about the larger issues as well as constituency-specific issues. In Sriperumbudur, she recalls the saint Ramanuja, who was born in the town. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and his family politics are her primary target. Of late, the Sri Lankan Tamils issue also dominates her speech.
Usually, her speeches go from subject to subject. After completing a subject, she raises her voice and enters into a dialogue with the crowd.
On completing her speech, she asks the crowd, “Will you vote for the DMK?” The crowd roars “no.”
“Will you give a final blow to Chief Minister Karunanidhi?” The crowd responds, “yes.”
Before she departs, she introduces the candidate to the crowd, and asks the people for their vote. It’s all over in half an hour.