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The hottest period in Chennai starts with agni nakshatram. This week agni nakshatram began, for a change, with pouring rain. V Gopalaswamy alias Vaiko, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the biggest political star in Tamil Nadu this election, was to campaign in Chennai that very day.

His party people were jittery but Nanmaran, the MDMK spokesperson, was hopeful. "I am sure it will stop raining by three," he said.

I was among those present at Vaiko's home at 2.45 pm so that I could travel with him. It was raining even at 3, and party functionaries looked very worried. But the dark clouds cleared and by 3.15, the sun was shining.

The convoy of vehicles were ready with their engines switched on. Vaiko's personal vehicle, a Tempo Traveller, was brought in and parked right in front of the gate. Vaiko came out at 3.45 pm, patiently answered all the questions from a national television channel crew who were waiting in the hall for him.

He got into the front seat, and the vehicles zoomed away, horn blaring as it blazed its way through the residential colony.

Reportage: Shobha Warrier | Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj

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