Presumptuous Poster Boy

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The BJP, with which he had his last poll alliance, is also keeping him in good humour to avoid pro-Jayalalithaa polarisation. But Vijayakanth seems to be forgetting his tenuous place in the polity. Social media is full of mockery and memes.

The media turned on him recently when he spoke rudely to a journalist. Taking questions about the upcoming election, Vijayakanth dared journalists to ask Jayalalithaa the same questions — or any question at all. “I’m standing here chatting you all up and I’m being nice but how about trying to approach her? You’re all scared,” he said and spat. “Do any of you dare ask her to organise a press meet? If your owner asks you to do it, you may. Otherwise you won’t go anywhere near her,” he continued.

The Chennai Press Club criticised Vijayakanth for this war of words with scribes and asked him to apologise for “continuously” behaving in an “uncivilised” manner with them.

Vijayakanth’s open admission of his craving for alcohol in a state witnessing pro-prohibition agitations is another reason why brickbats are being thrown at him. “I ask party members not to indulge in activities like burning Vijayakanth’s posters and banners. Instead, concentrate on serving the people. The actions of DMDK members will be taken care of by the law,” said Jayalalithaa when his exhortation to remove her banners created an uproar.

In the last week of December, during a protest near Chennai head post office, Vijayakanth expressed displeasure over a Jayalalithaa poster on a bus shelter. Immediately, a DMDK cadre climbed up and covered her portrait with his leader’s. This was done again at his bidding in an adjacent spot as the crowd cheered.

Predictably, AIADMK members came and removed all the banners put up by DMDK cadres, which led to an inevitable clash between members of the two parties, during which five DMDK members were injured.

Though the DMDK failed to win a single seat in the 2009 general election, it emerged as the principal opposition in the last Assembly poll following an alliance with the AIADMK. While the latter won a landslide victory, Vijayakanth’s party wrested 29 of the 41 seats it contested, placing his party in the second slot. In 2012, Vijayakanth fell out with Jayalalithaa after a disagreement over the number of seats his party would contest in the municipal elections.

No wonder Jayalalithaa has been saying that the people will teach a lesson to the DMDK leader in the coming Assembly elections.

nisha@tehelka.com