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Will Jayalalithaa take the wind out of the opposition by campaigning from next week?

Jayalalithaa will contest from R K Nagar constituency, north of Chennai city. She won the by-poll from here last June with a margin of 1.5 lakh votes.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: April 4, 2016 3:10:14 pm
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

Allotting seven seats for the alliance partners, AIADMK chief and the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday released the list of candidates for the May 16 assembly election in Tamil Nadu. Out of 234 seats, her party has now announced a list of candidates from 227 seats.

However, G K Vasan’s Tamil Manila Congress (TMC) which is supposed to be an AIADMK ally has not been given any seats in the first list released today.

Jayalalithaa herself will contest from R K Nagar constituency, north of Chennai city. She won the by-poll from here last June with a margin of 1.5 lakh votes.  And putting an end to speculation over her health and immobility, sources close to her said she would start campaigning from the second week of April, most likely on April 11 or May 14 from a temple town which may be Mylapore or Kancheepuram, Palani or Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar — places where her close aide Sasikala had visited in recent months. Sources said Jayalalithaa is unlikely to choose Srirangam, another temple town which had elected her in 2011, to launch her campaign as it maybe considered a bad omen as she was disqualified as an MLA following conviction in disproportionate asset case.

A senior AIADMK leader said the details of the campaigns are being finalised as there may be some minor changes in the candidates’ list. Jayalalithaa personally verified profiles of each and every candidates and completed interviews of MLA aspirants from across the state. Already she has interviewed about 600 candidates, meeting each of them individually at her Veda Nilayam residence in Poes Garden in the city.

“Our plan is to schedule her visits to all districts where people and candidates would gather from all the constituencies. Mostly, she will fly out from Chennai daily and return in the evening. Each trip is planned in a such a way that she would be on the ground and meeting people for at least five to six hours a day. This will also silence all rumour mills that spreads lies about her health,” said the leader.

Sources close to her also confirm that she has no life threatening disease as alleged by her rival leaders. “Like my mother in her mid-60s, Amma also has some age related problems and takes medication. What about her rivals who suffer from cancer or serious kidney disorders? She doesn’t have any such critical health problems. Moreover, people have never judged or supported her on the basis of her mobility or visibility or the number of public meetings she addresses in a month. She has been always like this – it was never easy for anyone to meet her – but she is still a leader who works and studies hard as earlier and she monitors each and every stage of the election process herself,” he said.

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