Chennai, Apr 10 : With just a day left for the campaign to end for April 13 assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, electioneering has reached a feverish peak with national leaders descending on the state and regional leaders launching an all-out effort to woo the voters.
While true colours of canvassing in the festival of polling--graffiti, and other paraphernalia that come attached were missing due to Election Commission's strict regulations, leaders are making sure they reach out to people.Loudspeakers have fallen silent following EC norms while relatively clean walls sans posters seem to add to the lacklustre campaign.
Both DMK president Karunanidhi and his arch-rival and AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa are contesting from constituencies of nativity and bank on this factor to see them through the hustings.
Karunanidhi, well facing his last elections owing to age and health factors, is confident his "son-of-the-soil" tag will send him to the Assembly from Thirvarur for a 12th time while Jayalalithaa is seeking votes as a "sister" of the local voters in Srirangam. Her ancestors hail from the temple town.
The two leaders have hit the hot campaign trail with Jayalalithaa covering a significant distance by road and air everyday even as Karunanidhi is braving old-age in an effort to match up with his much younger rival.
Aiming her guns at DMK, Jayalalithaa has charged it with being involved in dynasty rule or family politics which was rebuffed by DMK Treasurer and Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, saying his father Karunaindhi considers "all Tamils as his family members".
UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have already visited the state to seek votes for performance while opposition AIADMK-led combine is asking people to consider 'misdeeds' of ruling DMK on issues like price-rise and inflation, illegal sand mining and power cut. The 2G spectrum allocation scam issue, seen as an embarrassment to DMK with its leader A Raja jailed for his alleged role, and ruling party's first family members including Kanimozhi being interrogated by CBI, has not much reverberated in rural pockets.
However, this campaign seems to belong to DMDK leader Vijayakant for all his antics and popular comedian Vadivelu seen as DMK's trump card in its effort to woo voters, especially in rural seats.
Actor-politician Vijayakant grabbed headlines when he allegedly assaulted his own party candidate in public view after the latter corrected him for getting his name wrong. He ran into further controversy when once he reportedly got the symbol of CPI, a constituent of AIADMK-led alliance, wrong.
He then skipped the joint rally of the AIADMK combine in Coimbatore attended by the likes of top Left leaders, Prakash Karat (CPI-M) and A B Bardhan (CPI) and TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
Popular comedian Vadivelu, a household name in terms of fan following, has turned out to be a crowd-puller for the DMK.The actor, known for his colloquial dialogue and funny one-liners, doesn't hesitate to involve the crowds in his address and was even seen shaking a leg to local music.
His mimicking of Vijayakant, considered to be a rival due to some tiff as colleagues in Tamil cinema industry, has been his main focus which seems to give the crowd a hearty laugh.
Senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to seek votes for the saffron party, contesting by its own in nearly 200 of the 234 Assembly seats.
Star power has also come to dominate the campaign scene with actors Khushboo, Bhagyaraj, Union Minister D Napolean (all DMK), Hema Malini and Smriti Irani (BJP) all campaigning for their respective parties. PTI