Jaya to romp home from her native Srirangam

Srirangam: This abode of the famous Vaishnavite temple of Sri Ranganathaswamy on the banks of river Cauvery in Tiruchirapalli may be set to score another feat by electing its `daughter` and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa to the Tamil Nadu Assembly as she tests her electoral fortunes for the first time from an urban seat.

The Srirangam Assembly seat, a traditional stronghold of the AIADMK which has elected the party nominees six times since 1977, is witnessing an interesting contest between Jayalalithaa, a two-time chief minister, and a political novice N Anand, the DMK nominee.

Except in 1989 and 1996, when there was a huge anti-AIADMK wave in the state, the party has captured this seat with huge margins and its candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls emerged victorious as he had a difference of 21,000 in this seat alone over his Congress rival Sarubala Thondaiman.

Jayalalithaa`s forefathers were born in this island, which is bounded by the Cauvery on the one side and its tributary Kollidam on the other, and the AIADMK chief sought to strike a chord with the people by calling her chosing and contesting from Srirangam as a homecoming.

"It is like homecoming for me. This is where my ancestors hailed from. Now I have come back to be one among you," she said last week after launching her campaign from here, sending the crowd to raptures.

Jayalalithaa shifted to Srirangam from Andipatti, another traditional rural stronghold of the party that also sent her political mentor M G Ramachandran to the Assembly, where she won two times – 2002 and 2006. This is the first time she is contesting from an urban seat.

The mood is jubilant in this 2.20 lakh-strong electorate constituency, dominated in equal measures by Brahmin, backward Muthiraiyar and Adidravidar (SC) communities, as the Opposition coalition`s chief ministerial candidate and a `native` of this town is contesting.

"I will vote for her (Jayalalithaa) only. I have been voting only for AIADMK for a very long time. But, this time it is very special… She herself is contesting and she will win for sure," Gururajan, manager of the Sri Swarnawarna Theerther Brindavanam Mutt at the South Chitra Street that oversees the `gopuram` (tower) of the Temple, told PTI.

Majority of people in the four streets surrounded by the famous temple, where Jayalalithaa herself is a frequent visitor, echo Gururajan`s sentiments, saying "making her win from here will help create history".

Though there are several issues that are to be sorted out in this constituency, Jayalalithaa seeking a mandate from here has overshadowed every other matter.

People who live on temple and mutt property want pattas for their land.

Vasudevan, who had worked with automobile major TVS in Chennai for several years, says people believe Jayalalithaa will do good for her community and general public.