TAMIL NADU

Vijayakant urges tribals to support DMDK for ‘positive change’

Seeking votes: DMDK founder Vijayakanth campaigning for the Kallakurichi parliamentary constituency candidate L.K. Sudhish in Yercaud on Wednesday. —

Seeking votes: DMDK founder Vijayakanth campaigning for the Kallakurichi parliamentary constituency candidate L.K. Sudhish in Yercaud on Wednesday. —   | Photo Credit: Photo: E. Lakshmi Narayanan

Special Correspondent

YERCAUD: Traversing through the tribal heartland of the Shevaroys Hills in the Eastern Ghats, the DMDK leader Vijayakant reached out to the indigenous people and hill dwellers, asking them to “give him a fair chance” in the Parliament polls so that he could usher in ‘positive change’ in their tough lives atop the hills.

Resuming his campaign trail in the hill station on Wednesday, the DMDK leader wooed the tribal people, who are numerically stronger in 60 tribal villages in the Yercaud assembly, which has been annexed with the newly-created Kallakurichi Parliament constituency, with a string of promises for their bright future.

The leader recalled his association with the hill station.

“I used to stay here as an actor. It was cool then as the woods were dark and deep. Today it wears a look of neglect, stinking to the skies,” he said.

Promises

Indigenous people were betrayed as the promises, made by earlier rulers, remained unfulfilled, he said.

He claimed that he knew that the tribals were suffering in many ways.

As the government had failed to issue community certificates, many tribal students became school drop outs.

Their villages were without water and devoid of basic amenities. Their lands had been usurped by outsiders and medical care remained a distant dream.

With reckless mining atop many hills going on, the tribal habitats, particularly in Yercaud and Kolli Hills, had become increasingly threatened, thus endangering the hills’ fragile environment.

Yercaud coffee, he said, had a unique aroma. “But its growers are languishing.”

He assured the small and medium planters, mostly tribals that he would fight for a competitive price for it.

“It is not that tribals in Yercaud alone are suffering,” he said and claimed that their living standards, whether it was Pachamalai or Karumandurai or Velligiri or Yelagiri or in other hill stations, remained poor and pathetic.

“Give me a chance. I will give you all,” he reiterated.

Making a paradigm shift in his campaigning style, the actor turned politician on Wednesday preferred to concentrate more on tribal issues unlike the virulent attack, which he used to launch against the principal political parties such as DMK, AIADMK and PMK, earlier.

Tribals and hill dwellers in the way side habitations who had never seen a major party leader in the recent times, gave him a warm welcome.

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