Indian Express

Jaya’s chopper campaign becomes poll plank for opposition

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.

Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa’s electioneering using helicopter to criss-cross Tamil Nadu has become a poll plank for opposition parties in the state as the campaign gathers momentum.

Beginning March 3 at the temple town of Kancheepuram, Jayalalithaa has been addressing election rallies across the length and breadth of the State, seeking votes for her party “to secure the rights of Tamil Nadu,” and she is using chartered helicopter to reach the campaign venues.

The attack on use of helicopter was first launched by DMK leader M K Stalin in his campaign against his party’s arch rival. “We come to your doorstep to fight for your rights unlike Jayalalithaa who is using a helicopter. She comes only during polls and that too in a chopper.”

Asking if officials who check his vehicles would carry out a similar exercise against Jayalalithaa who was flying, Stalin said, “There is nothing wrong in examining me…but will they check her chopper by flying in another helicopter? Soon after, the thread of criticism was picked up by others.

Major ally of BJP and chief of principal opposition party in assembly DMDK Vijayakanth in his campaign meetings is attacking her for use of helicopter in his own characteristic style.

The next to join the “anti-chopper bandwagon” was Union Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, who wondered how could the Chief Minister understand the ground realities when she flew across the State.

“Ground realities could be understood only if a person visits even small villages and travels by road like former Congress Chief Minister K Kamaraj,” he said, mocking at her style of campaign.

When the repeated opposition attacks touched a peak, Jayalalithaa responded at her Madurai rally saying she was using the chopper only to cover all the constituencies within a short duration of time besides due to security concerns.

“Chidambaram should stop talking like this out of frustration. He should read what he wrote on security threat to me in a letter and what I replied when he was Union Home Minister on March 27, 2009.”

It remains to be seen if the opposition would put the issue to rest with Jayalalithaa’s explanation or continue to target her.

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