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TN Assembly polls | Shorn of spotlight, Rohini campaigns for CPI(M)

People’s anger over price increase will go against the parties in power in T.N. and at the Centre, says actor

In the Dravidian heartland, where politics and cinema are intertwined, it is common to find filmstars campaigning for the Dravidian parties or even the BJP and the Congress.

However, rarely does one come across a well-known actor, director and dubbing artiste of south Indian cinema work on the ground like a foot soldier of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Rohini Molleti, a familiar star, does not carry any vanity ubiquitous in the film world; she presents herself as a home-maker next door and easily mingles with the crowd.

‘Wrong policies’

In her mellifluous voice, she terms the AIADMK government “anti-people and anti-poor” and lists its failures. “The AIADMK government has been silently allowing the BJP’s wrong policies like NEET, the New Education Policy and the farm laws. That’s why it is an anti-people government,” she told The Hindu on Friday.

Associated with the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association for a decade, she had first campaigned for its president Su. Venkatesan of the CPI(M) during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

The BJP, which does not have its own vote base in many southern States, is trying to build one in Tamil Nadu by bringing people from north India. “It is blatantly announcing that it will build houses for them in our State. Is it not with an ulterior motive?” she asked.

The Tamil Nadu people were yet to understand this conspiracy, Ms. Rohini said, adding that she wanted to use the spotlight on her to create awareness among the masses of the imminent threat. “When leaders from our parties are not interfering in elections in other States, why are so many BJP leaders and Chief Ministers coming here?” she asked.

She took exception to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s comment that women would not be safe under a government of the Secular Progressive Alliance. “Why is he not talking about the Hathras incident?” she said.

Ms. Rohini, who is able to connect easily with the rural masses, especially women, said she was able to gauge public anger at the increase in the prices of essential commodities.

‘Evil designs’

“Though the rural people are not able to see the evil designs of the government at the Centre, they are indeed deeply hurt by the increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas, and increasing unemployment. Every house has got one or two youngsters without a job. This is definitely going to force them to vote against the parties in power in the State and at the Centre,” she said.

Turning a blind eye to the pressing issues in the past, the AIADMK was trying to woo voters with free cooking gas cylinders. “Why did not the government try to help the people when they were jobless under the threat of the pandemic? It allowed the Centre to increase fuel prices,” she said.

She said she has seen people of all religions co-existing peacefully and happily in the rural areas, and the Hindutva groups had a slight influence on the urban middle class. “They are misguided and made to believe that the secular parties are obstructing them from going to temples. It is not true. We need to create awareness among the people.”

Ms. Rohini told the voters that she had come not just to seek their votes, but would visit their areas to see the development after a change of guard in the State.

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