Tamil Nadu parties turn to ‘letterhead’ outfits for support | india | Hindustan Times
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Tamil Nadu parties turn to ‘letterhead’ outfits for support

The top leaders of Tamil Nadu’s two principal parties – the DMK and the AIADMK – are being besieged by everybody from supporters to ticket seekers and hangers-on. Sadly, few manage it past the reception desk at the party office.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2016 09:09 IST
R Ramasubramanian
DMK members gift gold chains and baby-sets to the newly born babies in a hospital on DMK Treasurer MK Stalin’s 64th birthday in Coimbatore
DMK members gift gold chains and baby-sets to the newly born babies in a hospital on DMK Treasurer MK Stalin’s 64th birthday in Coimbatore (PTI)

The top leaders of Tamil Nadu’s two principal parties – the DMK and the AIADMK – are being besieged by everybody from supporters to ticket seekers and hangers-on. Sadly, few manage it past the reception desk at the party office.

But several self-styled leaders of newly formed outfits, unknown to the public until recently, have achieved considerable success in this regard. The reason? The DMK and AIADMK – intent on expanding their support base – are even ‘adopting’ organisations that probably do not exist beyond a crude letterhead.

“In the battle of optics, letterhead outfits come in handy. They help boost numbers and create the image that political parties enjoy a lot of support,” Gnani Shankaran, a political observer, told HT.

A case in point is K Chandrasekaran, president of the Nadigar Thilagam Sivaji Samuga Nalaperravai, who easily secured an appointment with DMK scion MK Stalin. So what if his organisation does not even have a functional office? The fact that he is the leader of a group aimed at “spreading the name and fame of late Tamil superstar Sivaji Ganesan” was enough to help him get a two-minute interview and a photo-op with Stalin.

The DMK has reportedly notched the support of 65 outfits, from film star associations to farmer groups, while the AIADMK claims to have taken as many as 89 under its wing.

Just the other day, two associations – one of temple priests and another of astrologers – pledged their support to the DMK. The AIADMK, on the other hand, recruited the support of a potters’ association.

With both the AIADMK and the DMK bracing for a close contest, they expect smaller organisations to help them gain crucial votes in the upcoming polls. The groups, on the other hand, hope to be adequately rewarded if their parent parties strike gold.