For 14,000 registered ticket seakers of the DMK it is almost like a VIP darshan of Lord Balaji at Tirupati. They even pay, Rs 5,000 for general category and Rs 2,500 for SC/ST aspirants for a chance to see their beloved Kalaignar in flesh and blood. It does not matter that the list has already been finalised or that the meeting may last just a minute.
“We know that all the candidates list is finalised and this is just a process that the party follows. But, no regrets. All I wanted was to spend a minute with Kalaignar and it is worth the wait and trouble,” said R Sudha from Tanjavore. For the record, she is seeking an assembly ticket from Tanjavore city, but has no illusions of making it.
Once the aspirants pay the fee and fill in their application forms, they get 1-10 minutes with the interview panel headed by CM M Karunanidhi. deputy CM MK Stalin, his elder brother and chemicals and fertilisers minister MK Alagiri and other party leaders accompany the DMK patriarch.
Periya Malainathan, a civil engineer from Cuddalore, seeking a ticket from Villupuram, though, seriously fancied his chances as he was asked questions. The one that stood out for him: How much money can you spend? However, there are many who can spend up to R20 crore if they get a seat.
Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) supremo Vijayakanth too conducted interviews in his party office at Koyambedu. Here, women aspirants were upbeat as the Captain had announced preference would be given to them. Even the AIADMK party office sold a huge number of application forms. But for the Congress ticket aspirants, it is a dash to their respective leader’s homes.
About 500 families of Tambaram constituency have vowed to prevent candidates from entering the area. They are all beneficiaries of forest land given by the government 50 years ago, but have not got the legal ownership documents. So they have decided to boycott the polls.