PMK’s Anbumani Ramadoss banks on neutral voters

N Ramakrishnan Chidambaram | Updated on January 20, 2018

Mango days PMK's chief ministerial candidate Anbumani Ramadoss campaigning in Chidambaram for party candidate R Arul on Sunday. BIJOY GHOSH

‘What have DMK, AIADMK done for Tamil Nadu?’

It is almost noon and the blazing sun notwithstanding, a crowd of youngsters has gathered in one of the streets of this temple town, waiting for the PMK’s chief ministerial aspirant Anbumani Ramadoss.

As the luxury sports utility vehicle ferrying Anbumani nears the venue, the crowd goes into raptures.

A speaker refers to a sudden gentle breeze and says this breeze will soon turn into a wave and vote in Anbumani and the PMK to power in Tamil Nadu the May 16 elections.

Clad in a white shirt and trouser, the PMK leader wastes no time, engaging with the crowd in an easy conversation-like speech.

He refers to the greatness of Chidambaram — known for its Nataraja temple and Annamalai University — and says the PMK’s candidate from the constituency, R Arul, is a son of the soil. Born into an ordinary agricultural family, Arul has come up in life through his hard work and not because somebody offered him something free.

Say no to freebies

Anbumani’s dig is at the AIADMK and the DMK, as both of them have wooed voters promising freebies.

“Even I give you a Benz (car)…is that what you need?” he asks the audience. “You need to earn a livelihood and live with dignity, which is what the PMK has promised through its manifesto. The only thing the PMK would offer free is good education and quality healthcare.” The DMK and AIADMK have been in power for 50 years, and see what they have done for you, he tells the gathering.

Later, talking to BusinessLine while driving to Cuddalore, he says there is a definite wave in favour of the PMK and not just against the two Dravidian parties — the AIADMK and the DMK. He has witnessed this during his extensive travel of the State campaigning for PMK candidates, he says.

Nearly 60 per cent of the voters are neutral and more than half of these are youngsters, whom he can easily relate to, adds Anbumani.

He pooh-poohs media surveys on the outcome. “Wait for the (May) 19th,” he says, referring to the election result date. One of the surveys has said he is likely to end up in the third position at Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district, from where he is contesting.

Total prohibition

The PMK had decided on projecting him as the CM candidate nearly 15 months back and since then he has assiduously wooed voters.

The party’s manifesto — in which it has clearly said it will implement total prohibition on the first day of assuming power — was drawn up after extensive consultations within the party and surveys of what voters want.

They are keen to be treated with dignity and given the ability to earn a livelihood, he says.

Cost factor

Anbumani further says the party is confident that the revenue the State will lose by implementing prohibition — more than ₹20,000 crore — can be easily made good by curbing illegal sand mining and getting a fair price for it, getting market price for the rare minerals found in the beach sands in the southern districts of the State, and curbing corruption.

“We have thought through this,” he asserts.

Published on May 08, 2016

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