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Congress brings Kushboo to woo Tamils in city

Published On : 18 Feb 2017

Mumbai (The Hindu): After north Indians, focus on Tamil votes by all parties. Tamil voters are being wooed like never before, with leaders and popular performers being brought in for campaigning in what is probably a first for the city. After senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram visited Mumbai, actor and Congress national spokesperson Kushboo Sundar campaigned in the city’s Tamil-majority areas.

“This is also the first time the Congress has given tickets to eight Tamil candidates,” says State Youth Congress president Ganesh Yadav. The attention marks the coming of age of this migrant community, after Captain Tamil Selvam of the BJP became the first Tamil MLA from Mumbai. On Saturday, the BJP too gave tickets to six Tamil candidates.

“We have not flown in actors from the south nor do we have a specific campaign strategy, but I am campaigning for all six Tamil BJP candidates,” says Mr. Selvam. The ruling party in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK, has entered the BMC polls fray for the first time, putting up candidates in Malad, Cheetah Camp, Chembur and Sion-Koliwada. It is contesting with its twin-leaf symbol.

Too many candidates?

The party had erstwhile not been able to register the symbol and hence used to support independents or other party candidates in the state. “There are so many Tamils contesting today in the city that it looks like almost every aspirant has managed to bag a party ticket. We have not fielded our own candidate in Dharavi because it is overcrowded with Tamil candidates,” says K.S. Somasundaram, who heads AIADMK in the State.

Addressing roadshows and street-corner meetings in Malad in fluent Tamil on Thursday, Khusboo exhorted people to vote for the Congress for a ‘peaceful life’ instead of the BJP, which wants to decide what to wear, eat or think. The context is important: “People still recall how they were attacked by the Shiv Sena, and prefer to stay with the Congress,” adds Mr. Yadav. Incidentally, the Sena has given tickets to two Tamil candidates in Dharavi and in Kurla’s Jari Mari. “It’s not as though people have forgotten the past, just that they have moved on and have truly settled down in the city. Everyone lives together amicably and there doesn’t seem to be any issue in getting votes,” former corporator S. Annamalai, whose wife Lalita is contesting on a Sena ticket from Jari Mari, said. “My ward has about 47% Tamils, and I will truly benefit from Khusboo’s campaigning,” says Malad candidate Pinky Bhatia.


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