Text: Shobha Warrier | Photographs: Sreeram Selvaraj
The set created on the Island Grounds near Marina Beach in Chennai was that of Parliament with flags of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist and Pattali Makkal Katchi flying high.
When the five-party alliance led by the AIADMK kicked off its campaign rally in style on April 16 evening, it seemed as if we were listening to a rally prior to the assembly election. The issues discussed were regional and the attacks mostly targeted at the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime.
Alliance leader J Jayalalithaa almost ignored the Congress!
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi and his son M K Azhagiri, the DMK candidate from Madurai, were attacked the most.
Of course, the Sri Lankan issue is a raging one for all the political parties in the state. Only when the Left leaders started speaking did we hear national issues being discussed.
It was quite evident from the speeches and the reactions of the 100,000-strong crowd that what mattered to the electorate were the issues that concerned them; not the nuclear deal or what happened in faraway Delhi or Uttar Pradesh.
Image: The stage resembling Parliament.
Also see: Uttam's Take: Advani & Sonia | Coverage: India Votes 2009