Jayalalithaa to campaign extensively in all the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies

Even as the two main Left parties have decided to go it alone in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu after the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam startlingly snapped ties with them, Chief Minister and AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa on Sunday revised her campaign schedule to extensively cover all the 40 constituencies, including the one in Puducherry.

In near simultaneous developments, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat shut the door on the DMK by declaring that the Left parties will contest on their own in the wake of overtures by the DMK chief M. Karunanidhi, while the AIADMK announced that Ms. Jayalalithaa will campaign for more days. This has also come close on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s bid to build a formidable alliance in the State.

Loud and clear message

With the AIADMK ploughing a lonely furrow in the Lok Sabha polls, the party leader intensifying her reach out to the electorate till the last day of campaign for the April 24 election in Tamil Nadu speaks loud and clear Ms. Jayalalithaa’s intent to walk the extra mile in the backdrop of the party aiming to “win all the 40 seats.”

More days to tour

Having begun her campaign well ahead of others, possibly anticipating the poll date in the first phase, Ms. Jayalalithaa has also more days to tour now as the alliance dynamics keeps changing.

Further, the sudden and unexpected support from the West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress party chief Mamata Banerjee to her Prime Ministerial ambitions, soon after the AIADMK parted ways with the Left, has come as a boost to cover more ground in the run-up to the polls.

With the BJP’s new electoral formation raising expectations for the saffron party, which is hoping to enhance the Narendra Modi factor in Tamil Nadu, political observers point out that Ms. Jayalalithaa perforce would wish to take no chances.

This is seen as another reason for revising her poll schedule.

Multi-cornered fight

Significantly, these developments are panning out in a larger context of a multi-cornered contest emerging in Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Karat, unfazed by the AIADMK unilaterally breaking electoral ties with the Left parties, made clear at Nagapattinam that the Left parties will face the coming election “putting forward a Left platform of alternative polices.”

Speaking at a function in Nagapattinam to unveil a memorial for the 44 Dalit victims of the 1968 ‘Keezhvenmani tragedy,’ Mr. Karat said that no alternative could ever be found either in Tamil Nadu or in India “bypassing or marginalising the Left.”

Referring to the AIADMK having been a part of the anti-communalism convention held in New Delhi last October, Mr. Karat said the regional party was equally keen to oust the corrupt UPA. However, the AIADMK had unilaterally walked out of the alliance, he underscored.

Virtually slamming the door on the DMK’s open invitation to the Left parties on the alliance issue, he said of the many corrupt scams that were the hallmark of the UPA rule, the 2G Scam was directly related to Tamil Nadu and “was well known to the people here.”

The Marxist leader reiterated that the Left would rally all democratic forces after the Parliament elections which would include some of the regional parties that will be able to win.

Lashing out at the communal and disruptive forces that were claiming to be an alternative to the “corrupt” Congress-led UPA, Mr. Karat said a real change in policies was possible only with increased representation of the Left parties in Parliament.

There was no real difference between the Congress and the BJP, he said adding, the CPI (M) had the strength and resources to go to the people in Tamil Nadu on a platform to fight both corruption and communalism.