Jaya back to roots for test

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  • Published 17.03.11

Chennai, March 16: Srirangam, a temple town near Tiruchy, will finally have a chance to elect its prodigal daughter during April’s Assembly polls.

Jayalalithaa will contest the election from the constituency, 340km from Chennai. Though born in Mysore, Jayalalithaa hails from a family of Srirangam Iyengars who trace their ancestry to this town.

Srirangam is perched on an island at a fork in the Cauvery. In it rises the Ranganathar temple, the largest Vishnu shrine in the country considered the god’s abode on earth.

This is the first time Jayalalithaa would stand for election from an urban constituency as all her previous wins have been from rural seats such as Bodi (1989), Bargur (1991) and Andipatti (2002 and 2006).

The AIADMK chief lost to a novice from Bargur when her party suffered a rout in 1996.

The main reason for choosing Srirangam this time was the AIADMK’s performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The party’s candidate, P. Kumar from Tiruchy, won having polled 20,000 more than his nearest rival, Charubala Thondaiman, in spite of DMK transport minister K.N. Nehru’s support for the Congress candidate.

Brahmins make up more than 30 per cent of the 2.18 lakh voters and are expected to root for Jayalalithaa, giving her a clear edge.

Jayalalithaa also announced candidates for 159 other seats in the state, effectively ruling out the MDMK’s presence in her alliance.

The MDMK had refused her offer of eight seats.