Constituency watch: Tamil Nadu

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Jayalalithaa on Tuesday said the defence forces had become defenceless under the current dispensation at the Centre.

Speaking at a rally to campaign for party candidate M. Chandrakasi for the Chidambaram Lok Sabha constituency, Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out that in the past 20 days, three incidents occurred in submarines and naval ships, claiming the lives of 21 personnel. Had they died in the battlefield their sacrifice would have been greatly applauded.

She attributed the deaths to the indifference of the Centre to the long-felt requirements of the defence services. Owning moral responsibility to the incidents Navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi had resigned. But those who were responsible for taking the policy decisions were still sticking on to their posts.

When questions were raised about the quantum of funds allocated to the defence, Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his inimitable way replied that though adequate funds were sanctioned, the defence services were not utilising them effectively.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said if a change at the Centre took place, those involved in 2G spectrum scam and coal scam and chopper deals would be tried legally and the losses incurred by the exchequer on this score would be recovered. The issue of Tamil as an official language and its usage in the Madras High Court would be resolved.

She said the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was scared of her party’s “Two Leaves” symbol. Apparently referring to the DMK seeking a court direction to put under cover the newly erected structure at the memorial of the former Chief Minister, M.G. Ramachandran, as, in its view, it looked like the AIADMK symbol, she wondered whether the DMK would seek a ban on the sale of mangoes or the use of bicycles as they were symbols of other parties.

Ms. Jayalalithaa campaigned for the two leaves symbol in the constituency where the AIADMK has fielded its candidate after a gap of 37 years. It was in 1977 that party candidate A. Murugesan won in Chidambaram. After that the constituency emerged a stronghold of the Congress.

Though the DMK and the PMK have had their MPs from this constituency, it was with the support of the Congress on most occasions. P. Vallal Perumal of the Congress represented Chidambaram in the Lok Sabha from 1984 to 1991. In 2004 and 2009 Parliament elections, the PMK and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (an ally of the DMK) won with the support of the Congress. The DMK has allotted the Chidambaram Lok Sabha constituency to the VCK.

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