"The perception that Chennai floods wasn’t handled well is a construct by the opposition," she says

Govt handled Chennai floods well Amma will win in 2016 CR Saraswathi speaksImage: Facebook/Cr Saraswathi
news Politics Wednesday, April 20, 2016 - 07:12

For AIADMK candidates, elections are of Amma, by Amma and for Amma. The party’s Pallavaram candidate is no different. The face of the party on television news channels, AIADMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi squeezes in figurative hymns to her party chief J Jayalalithaa as she talks about her election plans and faults the opposition on a number of issues.

Saraswathi is contesting her first election in an AIADMK stronghold – MG Ramachandran, the party’s convener and first chief minister contested his first election from the Parangimalai constituency, which is now a part of the Pallavaram seat. “It is a honour to contest from the very seat that Puratchi Thalaivar contested his first election.”

However, Saraswathi isn’t exactly a political novice.

She said that she joined the party in 1999 as she was “very impressed” by Jayalalithaa. “I wanted to follow her ideals. Since then there has been no looking back.” She campaigned for the party ahead of the 2001 elections and was the Secretary of the Magalir Ani (Women’s Wing) of the AIADMK. She is also the party’s spokesperson and is vociferous about defending the AIADMK – read Jayalalithaa – from the attacks of the opposition. Moreover, she has been the Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare Board (TNSWB) for the last four years. She says that during this time, she initiated the establishment of orphanages and old-age homes through various NGOs.  

Pallavaram constituency was carved out of Tambaram and Allandur seats after the delimitation in 2008, and during the first elections held after that in 2011, it was the AIADMK which won the seat, making anti-incumbency a factor for Saraswathi.

However, there is no possibility of asking Saraswathi how she plans to take on her opponent. It’s all about how Amma will defeat the DMK, which engages in dynastic politics among other things.

“There is absolutely no doubt that Amma will win the elections. She is the only one who doesn’t engage in family politics. She lives for the people and has the support of people who live for her. I do not have a specific plan for Pallavaram. Amma has included the needs of all the constituencies in the comprehensive blueprint for Tamil Nadu and I will adhere to it.”

A suburb of Chennai but located in Kanchipuram district, Pallavaram’s development has been skewed. Some pockets closer to the major roads have relatively better amenities than other areas.

Saraswathi’s responses to other questions are mostly a juxtaposition of the DMK’s faults and a projection of her own party as the better one.

On prohibition, which has become one of the poll planks, she says the DMK copied Jayalalithaa’s idea of a gradual phase out.

“Karunanidhi is talking about complete prohibition in his rallies. Look at their manifesto. There is no mention of the word ‘complete’ in it. Do they even understand the social effects?” she asks. On the AIADMK’s stand, she says: “It is impractical to aim for complete prohibition in one go. Amma understands it better than anyone. She knows the social consequences and how it might lead to increased violence against the women. People are the better judge (of which is the best party).”

She also roundly defends the Jayalithaa government’s handling of the floods in the state last December.

In an aggressive tone, she says “The perception that the Chennai floods wasn’t handled well is a construct by the opposition that some media houses, especially the ones owned by the opposition parties, have based their narrative on.”

She continued: “It is not easy to take on nature. The government under Amma has done the best it could. She made sure that flood relief was available to everyone irrespective of class.”

Saraswathi claims that if Tamil Nadu is regarded as one of the safest states in India for women, then it was because of Jayalalithaa. She said that her party chief had expanded the number of women police stations, strengthened the number of women in security forces, and even went on add that Jayalalithaa made women believe in themselves.

“She truly believed that women can achieve anything and everything. She is a living example of that idea. The cradle baby scheme, her brainchild, was praised by none other than Mother Teresa herself,” she said.

“Next month, this time, news organisations will be flashing the news that Amma will be form the government again,” she concludes.


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