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15 days to go, parties raise campaign pitch

With just 15 days left for polling in RK Nagar by-election, political parties have raised the campaign pitch. Functionaries of different parties are busy chalking out high-octane campaigns for their candidates to win the by-poll.

15 days to go, parties raise campaign pitch
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O Panneerselvam inaugurating the election office of his nominee E Madhusudhanan at RK Nagar

Chennai

Prominent parties have roped in other districts’ secretaries, ministers and star speakers to cover the length and breadth of the constituency. The campaigners have been braving the sweltering heat and making a beeline to the houses of the electorate seeking votes. 

Candidates of AIADMK (Amma), AIADMK (Puratchi Thalaivi Amma), DMK, BJP, DMDK and CPM are spotted frequently in the Assembly segment. Speaking to DTNext, a AIADMK (Amma) senior cadre said, “We hold meetings every night to discuss the campaign strategies. We have the voters list ward by ward and we plan our door-to-door canvassing accordingly.”  

“We are also executing the instructions of the party’s high command on the methods of campaigning. We all have been accompanying the candidate meticulously during the visits and meetings,” he added. The scorching sun too decides the start and finish of the vote drive in the area. 

“We start our campaign by 7 am and conclude it by 11 am in the morning. Later, we meet the people directly in the noon and restart canvassing for votes in the evening by 4 pm,” a DMK cadre who has been following Maruthu Ganesh, their candidate for the bypoll said.  Some of the political parties, sensing that RK Nagar has large number of women voters, have roped in women from the same locality to campaign for them. 

“Our party has a women’s wing and they are visiting the electorate ward by ward and block by block,” said a functionary of a major political party. The cadres added that the respective political parties bear the campaign expenditure.  RK Nagar residents feel that the campaign would gather more momentum after withdrawal of nominations on Monday. 

K Saravanan of Royapuram said, “Independent candidates will set the ball rolling in the coming days along with the major parties. Officials must ensure that canvassing in the constituency should not disturb the public at any cost.” Meanwhile, traders, shopkeepers and restaurant owners in Tondaiyarpet, Old and New Washermenpet are seeing a spurt in sales. 

“Since, cadres and supporters of various political parties are thronging the constituency, sales have started picking up in my hotel.  Earlier, we closed the hotel by 11 pm, but now we close as early as 9 pm itself, as all the food items are sold by that time,” said Rajendran, owner of a biryani eatery in New Washermenpet. 

Many tea shop owners in the locality too echoes his opinion. Interestingly, the areas around the Assembly segment are also benefitting these days as the constituency lacks many lodging facilities. Party functionaries from other districts opt to stay in Egmore, Triplicane and Poonamallee Road in the city. 

“We worked here earlier in 2015 by-election. We know that the constituency does not have much lodges and mansions. So, we booked our rooms in advance in other nearby-areas,” said a functionary of a prominent political party wishing anonymity.

Freezing of symbol: AIADMK man attempts self-immolation

Upset over the freezing of AIADMK’s Two leaves symbol by the Election Commission of India, an ardent party worker allegedly attempted to commit suicide by immolating himself at Sanankarai village in Peravurani Taluk of Thanjavur district. Veeraiyan (56), who is also AIADMK’s unit secretary of Sanankarai, was reportedly in a depressed mood, after the EC froze the party’s symbol. He doused himself with kerosene at his house last night and set himself afire.  He was rushed to Peravurani government hospital by the neighbours. As he sustained serious burn injuries, he was referred to the Government Medical College Hospital at Thanjavur on Sunday morning.  Peravurani police have registered a case and are investigating.

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