Chennai: The campaign has gathered steam for the June 27 bypoll contest in Tamil Nadu featuring Chief Minister Jayalalithaa as AIADMK workers are going all out to ensure her victory against the lone CPI challenger.
Driving the AIADMK campaign for the bypoll to the Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly seat are a battery of ministers led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.
Party functionaries from across the state, too, are pitching in as they seek a big victory for Jayalalithaa in the bypoll, which prominent opposition parties DMK, BJP, Congress, MDMK and PMK have, however, decided to boycott.
Jayalalithaa is contesting the bypoll after her acquittal by Karnataka High Court in a disproportionate wealth case. She returned as Chief Minister on May 23 following a seven-month hiatus which was forced by her conviction in the case by a Bengaluru special court.
She is contesting the poll with a view to fulfilling the constitutional requirement for getting elected to the Assembly within six months.
AIADMK functionaries are seeking votes highlighting the ruling party's welfare measures such as free mixies, grinders, milch cows, sheep, laptop and bicycles for students and the popular 'Amma Canteen' initiative for selling food items at highly subsidised rates.
Jayalalithaa, known to engage voters in her interactive style during election meetings, is expected to hit the campaign trail soon.
CPI, which is the lone recognised opposition party in the fray after the others chose to boycott the bypoll, has fielded its senior state leader C Mahendran against Jayalalithaa.
The Left party is seeking votes on the promise to "protect the interests of working classes, the common man and democracy."
DMK, BJP, Congress, MDMK and PMK announced a boycott of the election as they alleged the ruling party would use money power to swing the outcome their way. The opposition parties also reasoned that there was no need to contest the bypoll as the Assembly elections are due early next year.
AIADMK is telling the people that RK Nagar will witness development as it will be represented by the chief minister, who is contesting from a city constituency for the first time.
During canvassing, most AIADMK workers display a plastic placard of green bearing an image of the "two leaves" which is the party's symbol and a photo of Jayalalithaa embossed prominently on it.
Mahendran, who is backed by CPI(M) and other Left outfits, including trade unions, is engaged in a door-to-door campaign in the bylanes of the congested North Chennai segment.
Although 28 candidates, including social activist "Traffic" Ramaswamy, are in the fray, the "contest" is mainly between Jayalalithaa and Mahendran.