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J Jayalalithaa's victory in Tamil Nadu finds resonance in Mumbai

Monday, 19 May 2014 - 6:38am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

In Goregaon's Aarey colony there were firecracker showers and arrack being served all night after J Jayalalithaa swept Tamil Nadu with 37 seats

AIADMK's celebratory cheer has touched the 8,000 plus Tamil settlement inside Aarey colony in Goregaon.

Most here are AIADMK supporters, who celebrated with crackers when they heard J Jayalalitha had swept 37 of the 39 seats. The arrack rounds which began in the evening went on till morning. Arun Shanmugan, 70, who had a bit himself, said, "It was available free. Of course we are very happy that our Puratchi Thalaivi Amma has won." Then, we don't know whether it was the emotions or the effects of arrack as he suddenly broke into tears. "We should have won all the 39 seats."

Shanmugan's neighbour, Rajendran Appadurai, 34, a local mason, hails from Elumalai in Madurai. "I was on the phone till afternoon when I heard that R Gopalakrishnan had won with a majority of 1,97,436," he says and adds with the cockiness of a psephologist, "Then I knew AIADMK would sweep it. The one who wins Madurai wins the state."

Though many here are daily wage earners they don't mind going back home to vote. "Our voter cards are from there," says Sunder Kaundar, 28. The women are more forthcoming. "There we get rice, pressure-cookers, TV sets and idli dough grinders to go vote. What'll we get here?" laughs elderly matriarch Maniamma Nadar. But, the settlement is divided between Amma's supporters and those who swear by the DMK. Shanmugan's house with paintings of Jayalalitha demarcates the two groups.

Though DMK supporters are only around 2,000 their views aren't any less fierce. Both K Rajendran and Magesh Selvam insist, "Annan is like God. He has done so much for the poor," he says, referring to DMK patriarch Karunanidh's son M K Alagiri. "Without him, how can there be a future for the party. I hope he's brought back into the fold."

They brush off all questions about DMK's ministers being caught in corruption. "When you give things like rice, TVs and mixer-grinders there will be expenses. Now they can't keep giving all this from their own pocket, can they?" asks Rajendran. Their neighbours Tyagarajan and wife Tilakavanti who had gone to Tirunalvelli to vote say, "Once the cases tighten the noose around Jayalalitha, AIADMK supporters will understand."

Across the city in Bhandup, the largely Christian Tamil fishing community of Madraswadi feels the AIADMK's performance is the outcome of the Jayalalithaa-government's work. "Amma increased cash assistance during non-fishing season, set up fish-processing parks and seafood export processing zones in Nagapattinam and Karaikal," said Mary Arul who has promised to offer a crochet veil to the Velankani shrine if AIADMK does well. "When my cousin and his neighbours were arrested by the Sri Lankan navy it was Amma who had them released."

In Mumbai's Iyer-Iyengar stronghold of Matunga Jayalalitha finds acceptance more because she is an Iyengar. "Just look at how poised she appears compared to Karunanidhi with his ridiculous dark glasses and the constant dribbling. Obviously anyone would choose her," says Padmalaxmi Iyengar, 54.

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