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It's Jaya, Jaya, Jaya, Jaya Ho in Tamil Nadu

By Saubhadro Chatterji in Chennai
Last updated on: May 09, 2009 20:44 IST
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In a country where the Bill seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament has been gathering dust for almost a decade, this is indeed a great sight  -- men, one after another, of various shape, size and age, are throwing themselves at the feet of a green saree-clad, middle-aged woman while she offers a stoic expression at them.

The men are seen gifting her at least four swords and five maces. But Jayaram Jayalalithaa, leader of Tamil Nadu's opposition AIADMK, actually doesn't need any of those weapons. For, her voice is enough to move over 100,000 supporters who had gathered here braving the afternoon sun to see their favourite leader.

She reads from a well-prepared written speech, using her acting skills to deliver the perfect pitch and thrust. Again, it's hardly needed as whatever she speaks, the sea of crowd roars in appreciation. And while she talks about development, "bringing all good things to Tamil Nadu", stopping any further SEZ, the promise of creating 100 million jobs in the coming years and reservation for dalit Christians, after every two-three minutes, she will return to her favourite punching bag -- Chief Minister M Karunanidhi!

"You have to dislodge Karunanidhi and throw him away. Tamil Nadu in his hand is like a garland in a monkey's neck. Karunanidhi and his family members are exploiting this state. But I belong only to you, the people. You have the power to end the family rule," the AIADMK supremo says as the crowd shouts in agreement.

"Tell me, is the Rs 2-kilo rice really edible?" the crowd shouts, "Nooooo!" "Was the price of rice under control during my rule?" "Yeeesss!" "Can you build a house now?" "No." "Aren't the prices of bricks and cement very high?" "Yes!"

After the brief Q&A with the crowd, Amma (as the AIADMK chief is known among her supporters) quickly shifts to the burning topic of Sri Lanka. "Indira Gandhi had invaded East Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh fighting against the Pakistani forces. Why can't the present government liberate Tamil Eelam?"

Jayalalitha is certainly the biggest crowd puller in the election-bound Tamil Nadu. But will her charisma turn this exuberance into votes for her alliance?






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Saubhadro Chatterji in Chennai
Source: source