Friday, April 8, 2011

TN polls: Rahul campaigns for youngbrigade

M. C. Rajan  | Karur, April 7, 2011 | Updated 14:20 IST
This is for the first time that he is seen to be accommodating the DMK by sharing the dais with the candidates from the southern ally. But, he is careful enough about keeping a distance from the DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi. He has never called on the octogenarian during his previous visits and even now there seem to be no such plans.
As in the past, he continued to harp on development and appealed to the electorate to vote for performance. Like his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he too refrained from taking on the Opposition, especially the AIADMK of Jayalalithaa.

"Our programme is aimed at wealth percolating down to the masses. Tamil Nadu and the central governments have been working jointly for that so far and would continue to work for it," he said.

"Manmohan Singhji and Kalaignarji ( DMK chief Karunanidhi) are working together to ensure that the two parties and the two governments continue to work for development of the state," Rahul said.

However, unlike in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Rahul's Tamil Nadu tour is not a road- show as his tour schedule shows that the young MPs focus remains on helping those of his team in the fray. He launched the campaign at Erode from where the Youth Congress state president is contesting and his next stop was Karur where his lieutenant Jothimani is in the fray. Both are facing AIADMK veterans.

When the DMK is not keen on shouldering the campaign for the Congress candidates, the plight of the Youth Congress nominees needs no elaboration. All the seven nominees from the young wing have placed their hopes on the Rahul magic. The Nehru- Gandhi family scion has not disappointed them but whether he could prove to be a vote earner is what remains to be seen.

At Karur, the crowd turnout was moderate.

With his arrival getting delayed, many had deserted the venue unable to bear the scorching sun. But, a few enthusiastic DMK supporters were there waving their party flags.

Sharing the limelight with Rahul was Jothimani, who doubled up as the translator.

Unlike others who had made Rahul's speech appear like that of a seasoned politician, she did not go astray.

A post graduate with an M. Phil degree, 35- year- old Jothimani has come from the grassroots. A spinster, she took the plunge into politics nearly a decade ago while contesting as a councillor for a village panchayat. It was the urge to solve a local problem over denial of drinking water to the Dalits that had driven her to enter politics.

She was the general secretary of the district Congress before being spotted in Rahul's talent hunt.

Though she is pitted against sitting AIADMK legislator Senthil Balaji, she is carrying on the campaign. And this young woman who strikes an instant chord with the voters is confident of pulling off a coup in the AIADMK stronghold.

" Rahul's campaign will give a boost to our efforts and his charisma will work to our advantage," she said.

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