M A I N   N E W S

Jaya woos voters with gold
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Andipatti (Tamil Nadu), May 3
Andipatti in Tamil means “the land of paupers”. But being the Assembly constituency of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayaram Jayalalithaa it is now being turned into a land of gold.

Though confident of her personal victory, to woo the electorate she is even promising gold.

To counter the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagams (DMK) poll promise of free colour television sets, she has gone to the extent of promising free gold ‘mangalsutras’ weighing four grams to all poor girls during their marriages.

In the 2002 byelection, since she was debarred from contesting the 2001 Assembly poll, she won with a whopping margin of 42,000. But this time there is a feeling that her victory margin might come down. She wants to increase her margin and probably that is why she is taking no chances.

However, the situation here is such that she need not have made such tall poll pledges as she is all set to win might be with a reduced victory margin.

Even those who are not Amma’s die-hard loyalists admit that she had done a lot for this backward constituency.

Andipatti is a backward constituency in Theni district in south west deep Tamil Nadu and is considered traditionally close to the AIADMK since the days of its late founder, M.G. Ramachandran, who won this seat in 1984.

By aligning with the Dalit Panthers of India, led by Thol Thirumalalavan, she has ensured the support of a large section of Dalit votes too.

Despite the sops offered by the DMK, the electorate is tilted towards her as she had paid innumerable visits to her constituency during her term as Chief Minister and through her trusted lieutenants established a personal touch with the masses.

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