Soft power was in evidence in some choice Lok Sabha constituencies in the State with family members of leading politicians doing a quiet door-to-door campaign.
Priya Dayanidhi Maran
The politicos’ parivar’s list is impressive array, notwithstanding the social media splash. Priya, wife of former Union Minister and DMK’s Central Chennai candidate Dayanidhi Maran says, “It provides a direct connect with voters and I get an opportunity to know the requirements of ordinary people.”
While one of the partymen accompanying her tells residents of Kakkanji Nagar in ICF that it was Mr. Maran, who made it possible for people to make phone calls at Re 1, Ms Priya chose to touch upon basic needs. “They are not asking anything out of the ordinary. All they need is drinking water, sanitation and eradication of mosquito menace,” she said, even as flies swarmed an overflowing dustbin. Walking alongside a row of single room houses, she said she had accompanied DMK leader M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Selvi during her campaign and this time she had decided to take a direct plunge.
Selvi Murasoli Selvam
Ms. Selvi has been campaigning for the DMK candidates, particularly for her brother M.K. Stalin and nephew Dayanidhi Maran in the previous elections is a familiar face.
“As everyone knows my father and brother Stalin, the voters always treat me like one of their family members. I sit with them and have brief discussion. In fact many voters wondered why my Mr. Stalin switched his constituency,” said Ms. Selvi, married to Murasoli Selvam, younger brother of Murasoli Maran.
Door-to-door campaign will also mean being greeted with tender coconut, butter milk and fresh lime juice as experienced by Sowmya, wife of the former Union Minister, Anbumani Ramadoss. Ms. Sowmya, who is campaigning in Dharmapuri in the company of her sister-in-law Kavitha, said she was not bothered by the sweltering heat. “I am also from a village and used to hardships,” she said.
“House visits help me narrow the gap with voters. I am surprised that they are already aware of many things, including the introduction of 108 ambulance service when my husband was the Union Health Minister,” she said adding that her daughters could not join as they were busy with semester exams.
While these family members are doing a low-key campaign, Premalatha, wife of DMDK leader Vijayakant, has assumed a much larger role. She has emerged as a star campaigner for her party.
On the contrary, Mr. Stalin’s wife, Durga has been visiting temples to seek blessings for the party candidates besides accompanying her husband during the campaign.