“We are not fighting the ADMK here. Our main opponent this time is the Election Commission,” declared a soft-spoken DMK leader Sedapatti Mutthiah, who had been MLA, MP and speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly.
The EC is having frequent brushes with the ruling party. The constitutional body has taken measures starting with posting key officials in vital places. This drew the ire of the ruling DMK, with its leaders mounting a frontal attack against these officials with allegations that they were favouring the opposition ADMK.
Local police wasted no time in booking union minister MK Alagiri and his supporters when they allegedly assaulted an election official and videographer last week. Alagiri has secured advance bail even as the tehsildar who was also attacked has backtracked on his complaint.
Madurai collector U Sagayam has launched a campaign to urge electors to say no to cash for votes, which has caught the imagination of the people, specially the student community. His interaction with villagers too has had some impact.
“I am not at all afraid of the consequences of doing my duty honestly, diligently and to the best of my ability,” he said. Sagayam has made a name for himself through his devotion to work. R Murali, head of the philosophy department, Madurai Kamraj University, and vice-president of the Tamil Nadu unit of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, said: “Attacks on Madurai district collector U Sagayam (and others) only indicate tough measures are working.”