As Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa launched the election campaign for the May 16 Assembly elections from Chennai, it appeared as if Tamil New Year festivities have began a few days earlier in the state capital.
The city which did not see much of campaign activity even a month after the election schedule was declared, sprung to life with AIADMK flags and festoons adorning arterial roads and streets. With speakers blaring out “Rettai Ilai, Puratchi Thalaivar thandha chinnam, adhu vetri chinnam, adhudhan makkal chinnam” (The ‘two leaves’, a symbol given by party founder MGR is the symbol of victory and a symbol of the people), models of the symbols were seen in most places.
All 20 constituencies for which Jayalalithaa introduced candidates showed her campaign live through mega screens fitted to propaganda vehicles stationed at crowded places. People gathered before the vehicles from late afternoon and waited for the Chief Minister’s speech, despite the sweltering heat and traffic congestion on a busy weekend.