It has been months since the flood waters receded, but last year’s deluge is making waves in the poll-bound Tamil Nadu.
The floods that claimed 421 lives and displaced lakhs have become fodder for political parties ahead of next month’s polls.
The opposition DMK has seized the disaster and the resulting misery as proof of the ruling AIADMK’s incompetence.
The party hopes to reap rich dividends in the flood-hit districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore, and has fielded its own candidates; the region has close to 60 seats.
Its treasurer and former deputy chief minister MK Stalin said the floods were a man-made disaster.
The BJP-led Union government backs that contention. Even though a small player in the state, BJP says it was Centre’s assistance that saved the day for Tamil Nadu and the state government was “hijacking” credit.
The AIADMK insists the government acted with alacrity. The defense, however, has failed to drown out opposition’s onslaught.
Political analyst Professor Ramu Manivannan of the Madras University admitted the floods could damage Jayalalithaa’s poll prospects: “The sullen and silent voters could punish her”. Despite this, he added, the presence of many players could save her as “some people feel relief work was timely”.