As campaign hit new high, decency reaches new low

Chennai: The hustle and bustle of the high octane campaign for the single phase polling for the 6 April Assembly elections and the by-poll to Kanyakumari Lok Sabha seat in Tamilnadu, came to a close at 7 pm on Sunday.

Never in the past the campaigning had seen such mudslinging and personal attacks, with the opposition launching a smear campaign on AIADMK, especially on Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Palaniswami’s during his whirlwind campaign banked on the legacies of AIADMK founder MGR and Jayalalithaa and highlighted the various welfare schemes launched by him during the last four years.

Apart from constantly alleging that the CM was indulging in collection, commission and corruption, DMK president M K Stalin went to the extent of branding Palaniswami as more venomous than a poisonous snake.

Apart from accusing AIADMK of becoming subserviant to the BJP-led NDA at the Centre and failure on all fronts, he also hit out at the senior BJP leaders, who campaigned for the AIADMK-led alliance, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and others and urged the voters to reject the AIADMK-BJP combine.

Senior DMK leader and Lok Sabha MP A Raja questioned the legitimate birth of Palaniswami, while comparing the political ascendancy of Stalin, saying his party chief was born after full 300 days of pregnancy, and terming CM’s as a premature birth born out of illicit affair.

This prompted the AIADMK to file a complaint to the Election Commission (EC) and the police. After the Crime Branch Police registered cases against him, the EC banned him from campaigning for 48 hours, though Raja, after repeatedly claiming that his remarks was quoted out of context and distorted, tendered an apology.

The issue became one of the major election talk, with the Chief Minister, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and senior BJP leader including party president J P Nadda and Union Ministers, including Smriti Irani, accusing the DMK of demeaning women and the motherhood and questioned the silence of Stalin issued a statement asking his party leaders to maintain decorum.

Apart from this sexiest comments on women from DMK star speaker Dindugul I Leoni, and Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi, who is making his electoral debut, too triggered a row by making controversial remarks.

While top BJP leaders criss-crossed the State and canvassed votes for the AIADMK-led front, barring former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi none of the National leaders, including party president Sonia Gandhi campaigned for the DMK-led Front, leaving Stalin to shoulder the responsibility of wooing the voters.

As the campaigning drew to a close, candidates made a last ditch effort and undertook door-to-door campaigning to woo the voters.


NT Bureau