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Tiruppur: EC has reduced business by 90 per cent

By Ganesh Nadar in Tiruppur
Last updated on: April 29, 2006 23:51 IST
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Tiruppur is known as an export city. It exports innerwear. It is a city that throbs with life. It's very crowded. There are so many cars that it is difficult to cross the road. It is famous for its dyeing units that have faced the ire of the Supreme Court. It is also famous for its butter and ghee.

Right from ginning factories, thread units, cloth factories, stitching units, dyeing plants and printing machines, Tiruppur has everything needed to make clothes, particularly inner wear and T-shirts.

Come election time it is also involved in making banners and T-shirts with prints of party leaders and symbols. This election they are cribbing that the Election Commission's vigil has reduced their business by 90 per cent.

One such printer said, "Politicians make money for five years. They only spend in this one month. This is the only way that the ill gotten money can come back to the common man. But the Election Commission won't allow it. With the best of intentions they are doing a lot of harm."

Here the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam is facing the Communists. Locals feel that the current legislator, who is from the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, had a better chance of winning than the MDMK.

This is because the MLA has done a lot in this city. He has provided drinking water and good roads. Even small bylanes and back lanes have tar roads. In fact, road laying is still going on at a rapid pace in the side streets.

People say that these roads were sanctioned long ago. The contractors had dilly dallied for long. Now they were working at breakneck speed to complete the work. The reason being is that they want to finish before the elections get over and claim their bills.

God knows what will happen after the elections is their fear.

There are vans criss crossing the city asking for votes. While the Communists are asking for votes and extolling the virtues of their candidate, the MDMK vans are using a different tack. They don't talk about their candidate or their party. They are asking for votes to make Amma the chief minister again. They definitely know which side of the bread is buttered.

Here the MDMK is spending more money than the Communists. The Communists never spend money. They are undil porrikki, says a local trader. Undil means 'offering box' and porrikki means 'street urchin'. This is because the Communists have a habit of collecting small amounts of money as donation. They will ask for anything between Rs 5 to 10.

There are no posters, banners or wall graffiti anywhere. Meetings can be held only in the town hall. And there are a few places where they are allowed to put up posters and banners. In these places, only party flags are visible.

Independents contesting will have a tough time familiarising the people with their symbols.

A mill worker said that it would be better if the Communist candidate won because the Communists are more down to earth. They don't jump from the tree tops nor do they become proud and inaccessible.

The dyeing units in Tiruppur are literally dying. This is due to the Supreme Court order forcing them to put up common effluent treatment plants. They have not been able to pay even 50 per cent of the cost as stipulated. As a result 1/3rd of the units are going to close down. The workers will be on the streets.

These workers will definitely vote for the Communists for they feel safer with them.

As people are employed it will be foolish to try to bribe them, says a middle aged mill worker. According to him the party that approaches the voter in his home politely will win in this city.

His words resemble the message in the Thai embassy in Mumbai. A board there says 'We will give you a Visa if you ask us politely'.

A rich garment exporter Karthkeyan is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate here. Palanisamy is the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam candidate (Vijayakanth's party). These two are going to battle for the third and fourth place as is the case in most places in Tamil Nadu.

The DMDK will be able to get between 5,000 to 10,000 votes, say youngsters. The BJP won't even get that, says a merchant Manthiram. Amazing that a party that was launched just before this election, will be polling more votes than the party which was ruling the country not so long ago.

As for the oldest party in the country, nobody mentioned it. And these two parties think that no one else is fit to rule the country. Well! Live and Learn.

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Ganesh Nadar in Tiruppur