He met Rahul Gandhi at Madurai airport recently
Actor Karthick, whose Naadalum Makkal Katchi has failed to make a strong impact in Tamil Nadu, seems to be banking on the beleaguered Congress to revive his political fortunes.
Despite the snub of not being allotted a seat to contest the Lok Sabha elections, the film star chose to campaign for the Congress, citing the good nature of its leaders.
It is altogether another matter that he did not turn up at many places where he was scheduled to campaign, to the disappointment and frustration of Congress candidates.
The quirk that he is, Karthick was there at AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s only public rally in Kanyakumari. In fact, he was the only other person to address the lively gathering. Somehow, he missed Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s lone rally at Ramanathapuram.
But the actor got a 10-minute tête-à-tête with Mr. Gandhi at the Madurai airport the same day, using some other channels than the TNCC. The buzz in the TNCC is that the actor was asked by Mr. Gandhi to join the Congress formally and was guaranteed a post. Another faction in the making?
Falling in line
Usually, the Collectors who happened to be the Returning Officers of the Lok Sabha constituencies will be the early to exercise their franchise.
Casting their votes in the initial stage itself will enable them to visit other polling stations and monitor the progress of polling from their offices throughout the day.
This time, the enthusiasm among the voters was so much that many preferred to turn up at the polling stations in the early hours.
As a result, the Collectors of at least four districts in the central region — Jayashree Muralidharan (Tiruchi), Darez Ahamed (Perambalur), S. Natarajan (Tiruvarur) and E. Saravanavelraj (Ariyalur) — had to stand in the queues in their polling booths, though they turned up early.
Voters in the queue gave way to officials, but they politely refused, choosing to join the queue, and discharged their democratic right.
Road less travelled
For the past few weeks, vehicles, especially jeeps sporting the ‘Election-Urgent’ sticker, were ubiquitous in Udhagamandalam and elsewhere in the district.
Criss-crossing the hills, they reminded the people that it was election season. Vehicles of about 36 departments and some elected members of local bodies and cooperative institutions were drafted for election work.
However, those officials who agreed to give their vehicles did so reluctantly. The reason: they were not used to travel by buses.
An OPS in Gujarat too?
For a moment, it appeared as if senior AIADMK leader and Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam, popularly known as OPS, had a say in Gujarat, too.
When a journalist tried to meet the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, for an interview in Chennai recently, security personnel wanted him to approach OPS.
Enquiries revealed that OPS meant O.P. Singh, the PA to the Gujarat Chief Minister. Mr. Singh was indeed helpful and arranged a meeting with Mr. Modi.
In political circles, referring to leaders with initials is a common phenomenon. Perhaps, the most popular among them were MGR and NTR. DMK president M. Karunanidhi is also known as MK.
The late Revenue Minister, S.D. Somasundaram, was mostly known as ‘SDS,’ while veteran Communist leader R. Nallakannu is endearingly known as ‘RNK.’
(Sruthisagar Yamunan, Syed Muthahar Saqaf, D. Radhakrishnan and S. Vijay Kumar)