BJP banking on fruits of 'statue diplomacy'

Seven lakh Tamil voters decide the fate of at least 25 candidates

BJP banking on fruits of 'statue diplomacy'

The unveiling,  which was in the hibernation for 18 years, would enable BJP eat into the conventional Tamil vote bank of the Congress.

There are about seven lakh Tamil voters in the City, who will decide the fate of candidates in nearly 25 wards. The statue unveiling was a well-planned strategy of the BJP government to strike a rapport with Tamil Nadu. It did not invite the wrath of Kannadigas either and instead made them happy by ensuring installation of Sarvajna’s statue in Chennai. With that Tamil Nadu chief minister became ‘periyanna’ and Yeddyurappa, his ‘chinna tambi.’

Several Tamil politicians joined BJP following the ‘statue diplomacy.’ Prominent among them is former MLA Muniswamy. This former Congress leader has been with the BJP for the last two years and is campaigning for the party candidates in the elections. The BJP has fielded his daughter Sridevi Rajan from Agaram ward. Muniswamy is all praise for Yeddyurappa. “Tamilians have developed confidence in Yeddyurappa following the statue unveiling and this will translate into votes,” he hopes.

Crucial role

Around 50 Tamilians including several independents are in the fray. The BJP has fielded half-a-dozen Tamilians in wards where their population is considerably high. Bangalore Tamil Sangham president Meenakshi Sundaram said the statue factor would play a major in the polls. “However, it may not be an issue in some wards. The voters may go by the character of candidates”, he opined.

The AIADMK has fielded 15 candidates in Tamil pockets. DMK has been asked by its leaders to support the Congress. DMK State president Killi Valavan said his party decided not to contest as per the direction by the high command. Muniraju is one of the senior most AIADMK leaders in the fray. He is a former corporator and an ex-MLA too. He is facing tough fight from BJP’s Ravindra and G Padmavathi of the Congress in Prakash Nagar ward. Muniraju, who served as secretary of the state unit for 15 years says he has not been able to compete with money power of his opponents.

Star campaigning

Two Lok Sabha members from Tamil Nadu and film personalities Ramarajan and Anand Raj have already campaigned for Muniraju and some of his party candidates.

Arunachalam, a voter in Devarajeevanahalli, dominated by Tamil speaking community, said BJP had won confidence of the Tamilians. “But the local legislator has provided us drinking water by sinking a borewell. For me, drinking water is more important than the statue.”

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