After many invitations, the Congress vice-president comes to TN. He will campaign in Ramanathapuram today

Finally, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is visiting the State. The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC), at sea without any star campaigners, has been sending invitations to Mr. Gandhi for a while.

The invitation was to participate in road shows at Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchi. But no confirmation came through. There were indications he would campaign for Manicka Tagore in Virudhunagar or Jothimani in Karur, both part of the youth brigade helping him develop the party at the grassroots level across the nation.

When the nod came, Mr. Gandhi, to the surprise of many, chose to campaign in Ramanathapuram Lok Sabha constituency where former BJP leader Thirunavukkarasar is in the fray for the party. The talk is that Mr. Gandhi’s speech will focus on fishermen’s issue.

Mayor’s dream hits a roadblock

For quite some time now, Chennai mayor Saidai Duraisamy’s dreams have been dominated by international roads.

Initially, the idea was floated by a senior officer in the Secretariat, the seat of power, and Mr. Duraisamy latched on to it. That’s why concrete stretches have come about in the city, here and there, but only on lanes and by-lanes.

When the mayor’s dream is realised, the city will have better quality roads that can last over two decades — if not cut open frequently by utility providers.

Alas, when the global tenders were floated for the first phase of the project in Ashok Nagar, the poll bugle was sounded. Once the election process is over, the Corporation will be ready to roll out the Mayor’s dream project.

Lonely paths

Walking through the Collectorate in the Nilgiris on a Saturday, particularly at the time of elections, one cannot help but notice grumpy faces and overhear remarks that reflect frustration among the teeming crowd of officials.

It has nothing to do with the work. It stems from the frustration caused by their inability to be with their families often enough. It is common knowledge that most officials from the plains who are posted in the hills prefer to not bring their families along.

They use the accommodation provided by the district administration or stay in hotels, and generally go home a day ahead of the weekend and return late on Monday. The reason: the cost of living is high in hill stations, the weather is not conducive, their children either study or work in the plains. Over the years, many collectors have tried. Only in vain.

Where are all the policemen?

Opposition parties often complain about the poor bandobust arrangements provided by the police for their rallies. The Election Commission too maintains stoic silence, despite the issue being raked up repeatedly.

In Tiruchi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) organised a two-wheeler rally recently. A large number of two-wheelers and autorickshaws traversed through the length and breadth of the city. The rally was flagged off from the Subramaniapuram junction.

What shocked not only the CPI(M) cadre but also onlookers was the presence of just one police constable at the spot. There was no one to regulate the crowd. The red shirt-clad party workers had to take up the job of regulating traffic at the busy junction and on Pudukottai Road.

The irony is the rally was flagged off right opposite the district police office.

(By Sruthisagar Yamunan, B. Aravind Kumar, D. Radhakrishnan and S. Ganesan)