Audio story | Sri Lanka issue stirs no electoral chords

Audio story | Sri Lanka issue stirs no electoral chords
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First Published: Sun, May 17 2009. 11 46 PM IST

Updated: Mon, May 18 2009. 09 04 AM IST
For all the bluster by M. Karunanidhi and J. Jayalalitha over the last few weeks, each politician more eager than the other to declare that they would create a separate Eelam in Sri Lanka, the issue seems to have made little difference to how people voted.
During the lead-up to the elections in Tamil Nadu, I spent some time on the ground, talking to voters and to individual candidates. Somehow, the emphasis never seemed to be on Sri Lanka. At least a couple of analysts told me that the economy would prove to be more important, and that seems to have been the case. Prices had climbed, agriculture in areas of the state had suffered, and industrial jobs were threatened because of the economic slowdown.
On the day of the elections, the Chennai-based psephologist ”Cho.” Ramaswamy pointed out that Sri Lanka mattered very little, if at all, to the rural voters of Tamil Nadu. But Ramaswamy also alleged that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s strong performance in the state came solely on the basis of distribution of money, a tactic they had followed in the Thirumangalam by-election last year and that went completely unchecked by the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct. ”I do not see any other reason why the result should have come out like this,” Ramaswamy told Mint. “Tamil Nadu is now worse than Bihar.”
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First Published: Sun, May 17 2009. 11 46 PM IST