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Saturday, January 25, 2020

Tamil Nadu elections: Of Hinduism, farmer leaders and polishing shoes

Tamil Nadu farmer leader Ayyakannu has decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections from Varanasi.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai | Published: April 8, 2019 10:06:34 pm
Stalin hails HC ruling on Salem-Chennai highway project Stalin has been going around clarifying that the DMK has nothing against the Hindus. (File)

Stalin and the anti-Hindu taint

DMK leader Stalin has a new problem on his hands now. In the final stages of his campaign, he has been going around clarifying that the DMK has nothing against the Hindus. This is all because his father’s friend, Dravidian ideologue, Dravidar Kazhagam leader and mentor to Dravidian parties, Veeramani made comments linking Hindu deities with the accused in the Pollachi sexual assault case.

This has led to propaganda that DMK is not sensitive to the sentiments of the Hindus. Stalin seems to be in a fix and wants to wriggle out of any blowback as quickly as possible.

During his campaign, he has referred to the film ‘Parasakthi’, whose dialogues were written by his father Karunanidhi as an indicator of the party policy. “DMK’s policy is not that temples shouldn’t be built, it’ just that the temples shouldn’t become a tent for evil. Even today, we adhere to those principles,” he says.

Not sure whether it reached the intended audience, he went much further when he said, “90% of people in DMK are Hindus, even my wife goes to temples every day and I haven’t stopped her.”

Farmer leader Ayyakannu won’t contest against PM Modi

Tamil Nadu farmer leader Ayyakannu has decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections from Varanasi. The announcement comes just a few weeks after a group of farmers led by Ayyakannu decided to field 111 candidates from Varanasi constituency challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ayyakannu earlier said the nomination was a sign of protest against the ruling BJP government that failed to execute the promises it made during the 2014 elections.

Two years ago, Ayyakannu, the president of National South Indian River Interlinking Agriculturist Association, vehemently protested twice in Delhi demanding loan waivers, revised drought packages, setting up Cauvery Management Committee, interlinking of waters, etc.

When they were denied an opportunity to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they attempted to protest naked, held mock funerals, shaved their heads, held dead pieces of dead animals like mice, snakes in their mouth and displayed skulls of farmers who had committed suicide due to drought and debt.

In these circumstances, Ayyakannu reportedly met with senior BJP leaders on Sunday. Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, Ayyakkannu said he would not be contesting against Modi in the upcoming Lok Sabha election. He said BJP has given importance to farmers in their election manifesto and he believes that they will fulfill it.

Polishing shoes and grinding masalas – All for votes

Mansoor Ali Khan, a Tamil film villain, is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Dindigul constituency in the state. He will lock horns with DMK’s P Velusamy and PMK’s K Jyothi.

Mansoor Ali Khan had contested the 1999 general elections from the defunct Periyakulam constituency for Puthiya Thamizhagam, where he secured close to one lakh votes. Now he is contesting on behalf of Naam Thamizhar Katchi (NTK), a small Tamil Nadu party.

Unlike other star candidates, Mansoor tries to fit into the shoes of a common man. He roams around Dindigul in a bicycle, campaigning for his party. He stops his cycle near a street and starts sweeping it without a second thought.

He questions the sanitary worker who came late and asks him to be on time the next day. In Moonjikkal village near Kodaikanal, he ventures into a small eatery shop and helps the women thereby grinding masala. He then sits on the streets and polishes shoes of the commuters, makes chappatis in a hotel and serves it to the customers.

As soon as Mansoor enters the place, people flock towards him. They take selfies, they talk with him and sometimes even involve with him in a friendly fight. Mansoor is not bothered. “Do whatever you want, but vote for me,” he says.

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