Followers of All India NR Congress and well-wishers of Chief Minister N Rangasamy celebrated his birthday with great pomp and show here on Sunday.
A stroll on the streets and roads, especially close to his house, may leave one guessing if Puducherry is facing a financial crunch, the oft-repeated media “jargon” these days.
The road leading to the bachelor Chief Minister’s house was decorated with huge arches, which were fixed to the roads after digging up holes in it. The huge flex bill boards covered all important traffic junctions and streets (posing danger to drivers of vehicles).
The detractors of Chief Minister Rangasamy, who turned 64 on Sunday, had warned him even days in advance that the Union Territory has Pondicherry Open Places ( Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 2000 in place to deal with the violators, who displayed such bill boards. The civic officials, who are responsible for removing such posters, also look the other way, the critics charged.
The huge cut outs and posters negate the charges of a few political rivals, especially from his erstwhile Congress party, that he won’t step out of Puducherry and attend any meetings even in Delhi. But the huge posters clearly depict Chief Minister Rangasamy conversing with world leaders including Barak Obama, George Bush and the like. The posters also remind one about his “association” with Perunthalaivar Kamaraj and Makkal Thilagam MGR.
Some of the party followers came dancing to the beatings of “Chenda Melam” specially organized for the occasion. Special pujas were held and “annadanam” was also organized by enthused workers. His cabinet colleagues, chairmen of various corporations appointed by him, top officials of the administration, including the police, revenue and other departments were seen among those lined up to greet the Chief Minister.
Ordinary party workers and voters from his constituency jostled and argued with the police officials before they were allowed to see the “Makkal Muthalvar” (People’s Chief Minister), who greeted them with his usual wry smile.
However, critics claim there is a significant reduction in the number of huge bill boards and the visitors, who greeted him this year, compared to last year.