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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Tamil Nadu elections: Of name changes, blame games, and traffic woes 

We bring you sidelights of the election campaign from Tamil Nadu: The decision to rename the Chennai Central Railway Station was announced by Prime Minister Modi at an NDA rally in the outskirts of Chennai city on March 6th, 2019.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: April 10, 2019 11:20:47 pm
HC restrains IRCTC from finalising tender for food plaza at Chennai rly station Chennai Central railway station. (File)

MGR Vs Karunanidhi: Renaming spree continues

The name of the city Madras was changed to Chennai in 1996, and now the Chennai Central Railway Station has been renamed as ‘Puratchi Thalaivar Dr. M G Ramachandran Central Railway Station’.

The decision to rename the 146-year-old building was announced by Prime Minister Modi at an NDA rally in the outskirts of Chennai city on March 6th, 2019. This had been a year-long demand by the AIADMK government, which passed a resolution in the cabinet to rename the station on September 2018.

Just a couple of days after the PM’s announcement, the Union ministry cleared the proposal and the station was officially renamed on April 5th.

With just eight days to go for the polls, the authorities are burning the midnight oil to modify the station premises with new name boards. The name change has also been updated promptly on tickets, and other online platforms.

Not to be left behind, a day after Modi’s announcement, former Union Minister and opposition leader MK Stalin’s estranged brother, MK Alagiri, wrote a letter to PM to rename the Chennai Egmore railway station after his father and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi. Next time you visit Chennai, don’t be confused.

Vote and get 10% off on your food!

In a move to increase the voter turnout in Tamil Nadu elections, The Tamil Nadu Hotels Associations (TNHA), an umbrella organization with more than lakh hotels in Tamil Nadu has decided to give a 10% discount on bills for their customers who have voted. The customers can avail the discount just by displaying their Index finger marked with black ink as proof. The association has decided to add a few words about the importance of voting in the bills as well and to place placards in their hotel outlets.

In Chennai, the offer is available in all the popular hotels that are part of the Chennai Hotel Association. Speaking to indianexpress.com, Madurai Srinivasan, the Secretary of Tamil Nadu Hotels Association, said: “Government is spending a lot to achieve 100% polling; this is our small gesture towards it. The District Collectors had a meeting with us 10 days back and requested us to spread the awareness of voting amongst the public. We discussed the idea with our association members and everyone enthusiastically agreed.”

The hotels earlier thought of shutting down their business on the polling day but due to this request from the government officials, they decided to open for business. “After polling hours, the hotels will function till their working hours. The hotel staff can vote and come back to work and they would be given a full-day salary,” said Srinivasan.

Blame game takes center stage

As the campaigning in Tamil Nadu for both Lok Sabha and bypolls is nearing its final stage, the parties in the state are trying all sorts of antics still left under their sleeves. The Dravidian parties are trying to gain electoral mileage over the death of their leaders.

Tiruchi Siva, a Rajya Sabha MP, has slammed Chief Minister Palaniswami for making remarks about the death of their leader and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.

“Edappadi should stop making false allegations about the death of Kalaingar and about our leader Stalin. He is talking only to hide the mystery behind Jayalalithaa’s death,” Siva said.

This comment from the DMK camp comes a day after Palaniswami blamed Stalin for his father’s death. While addressing a rally in Coonoor near Niligirs for his party’s Lok Sabha candidate M Thiagarajan, the Chief Minister said “Stalin had kept DMK leader Kalaignar under house arrest for two years. Why wasn’t he taken abroad for better treatment? The government is ready to order a probe into the death of Kalaignar.”

Similarly, Stalin, the state’s opposition leader has repeatedly said a probe will be ordered into the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa once DMK returns to the power. This didn’t go well with the opposition party members. They alleged that Stalin was making false propaganda for electoral gains and urged the Election Commission to restrain him from making a comment on the former Chief Minister.

CPI leader finds himself in rival campaign

The CPI Lok Sabha candidate for Nagapattinam, M. Selvarasu, who was campaigning in the Thalainayar town near Nagapattinam district got stuck in traffic. Sitting inside his car, he chanced upon a meeting that had been undergoing nearby. Curious to find out what it was, he got out of his car. However, it turned out to be the meeting and campaign of a rival candidate with their leader Seeman speaking. Subsequently, he was noticed by his rival’s cadres who immediately brought him to the forefront and offered him a seat.

Selvarasu then listened to what his rivals had to say about him. After the meeting, the CPI leader was even called to the dais and he exchanged pleasantries with his opponent. Though the meeting between the rivals was generally seen as an incident beyond politics, it didn’t go well with the party members.

While Selvarasu was busy attending Seeman’s meeting, former CPM general secretary Prakash Karat was canvassing votes for Selvarasu which he was actually supposed to attend. CPM cadres have not taken lightly to Selvarasu’s behaviour.

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